An effort to make changes to an independent ethics oversight panel was quickly discarded after outcry from the American people, and an impactful tweet from President-Elect Donald Trump. Now, Congressman Mo Brooks is speaking out against the measure and questioning its timing.
“In my view, it is inappropriate to consider an issue of this magnitude with so little public debate and so little time for proper evaluation and consideration,” Rep. Brooks said. “The final version of the proposed changes to the Ethics Office was provided to Congressmen with less than 24 hours before a scheduled House floor vote.”
Brooks stated that he felt that the ethics reform attempt contained “some positive changes”, like guaranteeing Congressmen accused of ethical violations the same protections afforded citizens in America’s judicial system. However, he ultimately believed the proposal needed more time before being pushed through the legislature.
“While I support reasoned strengthening of the ethics process and the protection of the rights of people accused, the reform proposed this week was rushed, inadequately researched, and inadequately understood by Congress and the public. I disfavor last-minute, major policy revisions,” he said.
House Republicans had voted on Monday night to pull the Office of Congressional Ethics under the umbrella of the House Ethics Committee. Critics of the measure had blasted it for potentially silencing whistleblowers and reducing transparency on Capitol Hill.
The effort was scuttled after a series of tweets on Tuesday morning from President-Elect Donald Trump.
“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it … may be, their number one act and priority,” he tweeted. “Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance!”