Friday, January 13, 2017

Republican war on ethics

The Republican Congress continues its war on ethics, now with Jason Chaffetz leading the charge:
House Republicans have summoned the head of the independent federal ethics office to answer questions about his agency and his public criticism of President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to separate from his real estate empire.
A letter sent late Thursday from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the GOP-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was viewed by ethics experts as a veiled threat to the budget of the Office of Government Ethics unless its director changes his rhetoric and approach.
The letter to Walter Shaub Jr., director of the Office of Government Ethics, asks him to appear before lawmakers in a closed-door, transcribed interview. Shaub is not being subpoenaed, but was asked to respond to questions in a setting much like a deposition, committee staff said.
The letter noted that the ethics office is up for congressional reauthorization.
“The Committee is thus continuing its examination of OGE’s operations,” Chaffetz wrote. “[The office’s] statutory authorization lapsed at the end of fiscal year 2007 and the Committee has jurisdiction in the House of Representatives for reauthorizing the office.”

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