GOP rep: Reining in ethics panel will 'provide more accountability'

Amid blowback from Democrats, Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill Senate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage MORE (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday defended a GOP-backed amendment that would weaken the House's outside ethics watchdog.

Blackburn said the amendment would provide more transparency in investigations.

"What it will do is provide more transparency. Anytime you can provide more accountability and more transparency to any process that is in place, then you're going to take another step toward draining the swamp, and I am all for draining the swamp," she said on CNN. 

On Monday, the eve of the beginning of a new session of Congress, the House Republican Conference adopted an amendment that would put the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) under the oversight of lawmakers through the House Ethics Committee. 


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

Supporters of the changes argue they will ensure due process rights for lawmakers. Opponents say the new rules will impede whistleblowers from coming forward. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pushed back on the argument that the rule change would "drain the swamp." 

“Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions," she said
"Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress."