Washington in a nutshell.
(Miami Herald) — A congressman who was investigated last year by the Office of Congressional Ethics has introduced an amendment to cut the office’s budget by 40 percent.
Though Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., was cleared of wrongdoing, in a letter Thursday to his colleagues Watt called the panel’s procedures “unfair and abusive” and said the more than $600,000 he proposes to cut from the office’s budget “wastes taxpayer money.”
“Ultimately, all the members charged were completely exonerated,” Watt said in the letter, referring to himself and seven other members of the House of Representatives. “However, all of these members incurred substantial expenses and experienced unjustified damage to their reputations in the middle of an election, and one of them actually lost his campaign.”
Watt was referring to former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., who lost to a tea party-backed candidate in a tough year for Democrats.
Watchdog groups say that Watt’s amendment is payback for the panel’s probe of him. Watt could not be reached for comment Thursday.
“He doesn’t like that it investigated him, and now he wants to get rid of it,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Update: I should have caught this the first time around. This was the office Pelosi set up to “drain the swamp.”
(The Hill) — The House on Friday is scheduled to consider legislation that would slash funding for a controversial ethics office set up by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) several years ago.
The amendment, offered by Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), presents an opportunity for members to express their displeasure with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long grumbled about the office; however, most have been reticent about publicly airing their views, worried about the appearance of calling for the dismantling of an ethics office in Congress.