House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she is listening to concerns from members about the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) but would not say if she supported changes to its authority.
“I’m always listening to what members have to say,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Friday. “As with all of our rules, we’ll subject it all to review as we present a new package at the beginning of next year.”
Pelosi late last month met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) about the ethics office, which Democrats created two years ago to bolster the ethics of the lower chamber.
Some legislators have complained that when the House ethics committee rejects an OCE recommendation to investigate a member, the OCE findings are sometimes made public and tarnish the lawmaker’s reputation.
While amending the OCE is being considered, making such changes now would be politically difficult because Republicans are citing Democratic ethics scandals in their effort to retake control of the House.
Pelosi said Democrats were not considering watering down the office. “Nobody’s talking about doing that,” she said.
The Speaker said Democrats had created the office to respond to the “criminal syndicate” that had been run out of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s office, quoting a Washington Post characterization.
CBC members and Pelosi discussed a plan to begin a dialogue over the next few months about changing the OCE’s rules following the midterm elections. Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeButtigieg has high name recognition, favorability rating in Biden Cabinet: survey Biden, top officials spread out to promote infrastructure package Black Caucus eager to see BBB cross finish line in House MORE (D-Ohio), a former prosecutor who was elected in a 2009 special election after the death of then-ethics committee Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), volunteered to lead the effort.
Democrats have touted their record on ethics, pointing out that they have been willing to come down on their own members and that Republicans opposed creating the office in the first place.