House ethics oversight: What just happened?

1. The House Republican conference, in secret, voted overwhelmingly to dismantle ethics oversight so Members could more easily get away with corruption.
2. Bob Goodlatte and his accomplices knew this attempt was shameful; otherwise they wouldn’t have tried to do it with surprise and stealth.
3. The House GOP leadership claimed to be against it but was entirely willing to let it happen until the public outcry got too loud.
4. Trump’s flack endorsed it and even said that the House GOP had a “mandate” to do such things. (Why not? Didn’t Trump promise to “fill the swamp”?)
5. Trump himself didn’t speak out until the public blowback become overwhelming.
6. Even then, Trump didn’t say protecting crooks in the House was a bad idea. He even endorsed the false claim that the existing process was somehow “unfair.” Trump just said that he’d prefer that the House Republicans do other awful things first.
7. Nonetheless, the press is giving Trump credit he hasn’t earned.                    
8. The proposal has been pulled for the moment, but the leadership is still committed to doing something later. Whatever that is won’t be good.                
9. The whole affair illustrates the culture of corruption that will permeate the government for the next four years, unless a wave election ends the Republican House majority in 2018.
10. But it also illustrates that pushback can work. Keep pushing!

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “House ethics oversight: What just happened?”

  1. Nonetheless, the press is giving Trump credit he hasn’t earned.

    Why not? This is yet another example of shamefully lazy reporting that needs to be called out.

  2. Trump will not hesitate to make himself look good and the GOP in Congress look bad whenever he detects the opportunity to do so. The most important thing for him is buffing his own image, and tarnishing the image of the House or Senate is a perfectly acceptable cost in order to attain that end. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    In other words, Trump is demonstrating his dominance over the legislative branch, and this is not the last time this will happen.

  3. "the press is giving Trump credit he hasn’t earned." I see the guy as consistently overperforming what I expect, in terms of garnering media attention which helps him. Crazy like a fox doesn't begin to cover it.

  4. Is there any reason not to consider Exxon-Mobil's $180 million non-contractual payout to Rex Tillerson an upfront bribe for future services to the oil industry and the company? If he does not provide such services, how can the payout be in the interests of shareholders?

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