Exposing Hillary So She Won't Get Elected

Congress Quietly Moves to Hide Incriminating Records, Weaken Ethics Probes

Just recently, House Republicans tried to pass a measure gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics, a move that would have given legislators free reign to operate as they pleased. Indeed, they only backed down when thousands of Americans and President-elect Trump himself weighed in against it, but it looks like they’ve already got something new up their sleeve. While the victory was celebrated, the House quietly amended a rule giving them the power to hide incriminating records of themselves.

“That sentence enables individual members to hide official documents that could prove embarrassing or even incriminating if they were suddenly investigated by the ethics office or the Justice Department for criminal activity.

The new rule states that records created, generated or received by the congressional office of a House member “are exclusively the personal property of the individual member” and that the member “has control over such records,” according to a report by OpenSecrets.org.

While the rule change might seem relatively benign on the surface, it has severe and troubling implications for future ethical oversight and investigations of members of Congress as the Republicans fully take charge of Congress and the White House.”

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said Monday that the rules change “is not good” and threatens to erode ethical oversight in government further. She said it leads to a situation where “There’s no cop on the beat – that we’ve lost a critical element of independent oversight” over government records and members’ activities.

“Why on earth would Congress now create barriers to investigation and subpoenas of a member’s spending records?” she added. “This only benefits the incumbent politicians who passed this rule and those who would flout it, not the system and certainly not the public.

Congressional Republicans have long complained of what they consider an overly aggressive ethics office and probes that deny them due process. Had the new rule been in effect before, federal prosecutors likely would have had a much harder time making a case against former Illinois Republican House member Aaron Schock, a one-time rising star who was forced to resign in the wake of revelations of lavish government spending. That spending included a $40,000 “Downton Abbey”-style redecoration of his Capitol Hill office, complete with a $5,000 chandelier.