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The Washington Post: An Ethics Watchdog Survives

Dec 30, 2010
News Article
HOUSE REPUBLICANS have made a wise decision in opting to retain the independent, and seemingly endangered,Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE)
. The entity was set up in 2008, after Democrats retook control of the House, as an important adjunct to the often dysfunctional ethics committee. The existing arrangement is not perfect - for one thing, the OCE lacks the subpoena power needed to do its job most effectively. But the proof of the office's usefulness is in the howls it produced from lawmakers who felt its sting.
The OCE's existence means that members are not left to police themselves. The office has the power, without having a lawmaker file an ethics complaint, to initiate investigations and conduct preliminary reviews. In addition, it brings some transparency to the black hole of the congressional ethics process; if the OCE refers a matter to the ethics committee for further action, the committee is required to make a public statement, within a relatively short time frame, about whether it will proceed. [READ MORE]