Conway defends GOP’s gutting of ethics watchdog

Donald Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday defended a move by House Republicans to gut an independent congressional ethics office.

Conway said she had not discussed the amendment with Trump and that the proposed measures would not impede ethical oversight of lawmakers.

“I don’t want your viewers to be left with the impression that there’s no mechanism to investigate ethics complaints, particularly ethics complaints that come from constituents, which the former office has been entertaining,” she said in an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I don’t want people to feel like ethics is gone,” said Conway, who will be the president-elect’s counselor in the new White House.

{mosads}“I think it caught some people by surprise because it was done through a blind ballot,” she added. “But again, the full House has to vote on this today. So the Democrats and others who object, they’ll have an opportunity to be heard.”

The House Republican Conference on Monday moved to adopt a proposal that would remove the Office of Congressional Ethics’ (OCE) independence and establish new limits on its powers.

The full House must now vote on the change, which would replace the OCE with a new Office of Congressional Complaint Review. The new office would report to the House Ethics Committee.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on Monday proposed the ethics amendment ahead of an overall vote on the larger rules package the following day. The amendment would put the OCE under the oversight of lawmakers through the House Ethics Committee.

The proposal bars the ethics office from considering anonymous tips about potential ethics violations and prevents disclosures about investigations.

Goodlatte said in a Monday statement that the measure, if adopted, would ensure due process rights are protected for lawmakers.

Tags Bob Goodlatte Donald Trump Ethics GOP Politics Republicans

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