Speed Reads

Isn't it ironic

Even Jack Abramoff thinks the House GOP gutting its ethics watchdog is the 'exact opposite of what Congress should be doing'

Jack Abramoff, the former lobbyist convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and tax evasion in the mid-2000s, thinks House Republicans' push to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is a big mistake. "While there seems to be little question that some of the procedures of the Office of Congressional Ethics can and probably have created collateral political problems for innocent members of Congress, moving to diminish oversight is exactly the opposite of what Congress should be doing," Abramoff told Politico on Tuesday.

Abramoff's conviction in part inspired the creation of the OCE, the committee that House Republicans voted Monday in a closed-door meeting to strip of its powers. Under the newly proposed office, oversight of the ethics committee would fall to Congress, the very organization the office is tasked with policing for corruption and scandal.

What Republicans should really be doing, Abramoff said, is heeding President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to "drain the swamp." "President-elect Trump has called for reform, and made specific proposals to reduce corruption in Washington," Abramoff said. "Congress should take his lead and offer real reform, not rip off the bandage of the OCE."