Facing a storm of criticism – and a rebuke from President-elect Donald Trump – House Republicans signaled Tuesday they would retreat from their plan to gut an independent ethics panel created in 2008 after several corruption scandals sent members to prison:
It was an embarrassing turnabout on the first day of business for the new Congress, a day when party leaders were hoping for a show of force to reverse policies of the Obama administration.
The reversal came less than 24 hours after House Republicans, meeting in a secret session, voted, over the objections of Speaker Paul D. Ryan, to eliminate the independent ethics office, created in 2009 in the aftermath of a series of scandals involving House lawmakers, including three that were sent to jail.
The reversal on the Office of Congressional Ethics came shortly after Trump signaled he didn’t approve of the GOP plan:
The office was created in the wake of the Jack Abramoff era. He was the uber-lobbyist whose efforts to protect Indian casinos (at outrageous costs) from gambling competitors enveloped several House staff members and Bush administration officials – and scuttled Ralph Reed’s 2006 bid for lieutenant governor in Georgia.