After the years of ethically challenged Republican ascendancy in Congress, the establishment of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) seemed to indicate that maybe things really might change just a little. However, sad to say, the OCE’s activities seem to have struck too close to home for some Democrats.
Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) has introduced a resolution, cosponsored by Missouri’s Lacy Clay (D-1st) along with 18 other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, that seeks to curtail the powers of the OCE, leaving it unable to initiate investigations and to consider most complaints filed by outside groups. It is certainly an interesting fact that, as TPM notes:
… Many of the cosponsors of Fudge’s legislation have been OCE targets. And the panel once faulted one of Fudge’s top aides, Dawn Kelly Mobley, for facilitating an ethically questionable Carribean junket for CBC members several years ago, when she worked for Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. …
Let me be clear: Lacy Clay has not been named in an ethics investigation, and is not one of the folks TPM is talking about. There may be legitimate concerns that have led Clay to cosponsor this resolution, but those concerns had better be really compelling. We have so few tools to help even the playing field in the big corporate bucks political environment we now inhabit, we can’t afford to gut the OCE because it makes some congress people nervous. Clay is not my representative, but I surely would like to know what he was thinking when he signed on to this resolution.
UPDATE: I just noticed that TPM followed up with the nineteen co-sponsors, all of whom declined to comment on their decision to support Fudge’s resolution.