Inside an ordinary office building six blocks from the Capitol, investigators sift through evidence of possible violations against ethics and laws committed by the nation's elected representatives.
This is the Office of Congressional Ethics , also known as the OCE.
Government watchdogs are warning that the independent office responsible for overseeing ethics investigations of House lawmakers runs the risk of becoming a toothless entity if leaders fail to appoint new board members in the closing weeks of the year.
As Congress waits for negotiators to resolve the budget standoff, there is other worthy business that could be accomplished, particularly in political ethics.
The Office of Congressional Ethics, established by the House of Representatives, is an independent, non-partisan entity charged with receiving and reviewing allegations of misconduct concerning House Members and staff and, when appropriate, referring matters to the Committee on Ethics.