As Congress waits for negotiators to resolve the budget standoff, there is other worthy business that could be accomplished, particularly in political ethics.
The four-year-old Office of Congressional Ethics
— the quasi-independent watchdog and preliminary investigator of House members’ misbehavior — is one of the rare success stories on Capitol Hill. It needs reauthorization and four new appointees by the end of the month if it is to continue into the next Congress and keep the public better informed. Legislators, of course, loathe being investigated by the office. But it has a solid record of fairness in doing its job, which involves discreetly screening complaints for the House Ethics Committee.