The Office of Congressional Ethics
, a proven force for good on Capitol Hill, is in need of a fresh lease from House leaders if it is to continue conducting discreet preliminary investigations of corruption allegations against lawmakers. The quasi-independent office has tallied an impressive 101 ethics inquiries in its four years of existence.
Its unpopularity among lawmakers grows with its caseload, but its record suggests professional evenhandedness, with 32 cases forwarded so far to the House Ethics Committee for further review, and dismissal recommended in 26 other cases. The immediate problem for the office is that four of its six board members must be replaced as soon as the new Congress convenes in January if the investigative watch is to continue. But, of course, this need has not been addressed by current House leaders, who are racing back home for elections.