GOP House ethics standards? What House ethics standards?
While Donald Trump presides over the most corrupt White House in history, House Republicans are setting a low bar for their ethics standards.
Are these the same people who relentlessly hounded Hillary Clinton over Benghazi and her emails? Now, with one of their own in the Oval Office, GOP House members are strangely silent. Russian ties, illegal acts, and dubious morals? No problem. Instead, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) crows about how “productive” they’ll be.
Alas, this “unified Republican government“‘s increased productivity may come at the cost of House ethics standards. Since getting stuff done means turning a blind eye, our wily GOP lawmakers need to cover their butts. First, they tried to do it by gutting the House ethics office. Alas, that didn’t go over well with their constituents, so they had to scrap it.
But while we were busy patting ourselves on the back, those crafty congress critters changed a rule on the sly. The Center for Responsive Politics reports the new House rules allow them to shield their records.
“Records created, generated, or received by the congressional office of a Member … are exclusively the personal property of the individual Member [emphasis added]… and such Member … has control over such records.”
Remember how the House GOP howled about Hillary Clinton deleting personal emails from her server? This rule change allows members of congress to shield everything. That’s right. Even their work-related records are now seen as private property. Our tax dollars pay for their salaries, staff, and offices, yet they are no longer accountable to us.
We already know that senior staffers from the House Judiciary Committee helped write Donald Trump’s travel ban…while their boss looked the other way. This may not be illegal, but it certainly blurs the separation of powers defined in Articles 1-3 of the U.S. Constitution. How many more House Republicans are illegally or quasi-legally colluding with the Trump White House?
From now on, we’ll have to rely on hackers and Wikileaks to keep them honest.
Sarah Lord, an attorney who once worked for the U.S. Justice Dept., declared:
It strikes me as an overreach. I think what would concern me is that it would extend the member’s right to block production of documents that would otherwise have been treated as public records or official records that belong to the government.”
WHDT adds that the new rule also requires investigators to give errant lawmakers “a head start on covering their tracks.”
“[The House member] shall be informed of the right to be represented by counsel and invoking that right should not be held negatively against them.”
WATCH: GOP-led House rewrites decades-old ethics standards.