Both Reps. Mia Love and Jason Chaffetz voted for a GOP plan to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. That effort has since been abandoned.
Congressional Republicans meeting behind closed doors made the surprise move Monday night. The effort was led by Rep. Robert Goodlatte of Virginia, who was seeking to keep the quasi-independent office from taking up ethics investigations against House members and give the House Ethics Committee the ability to block any investigations. The plan would also prevent any staffers at the Office of Congressional Ethics from releasing information to the news media.
On Tuesday morning, House Republicans abandoned the effort after a deluge of public outrage, including critical tweets from Donald Trump, rained down on the decision.
Love explained her vote in an email statement sent to UtahPolicy.com.
“I believe members of the House should continue to be held to the highest ethical standards and the American people should have the right to submit complaints and have them taken seriously. The current process has been abused and has affected both Republicans and Democrats. The Office of Congressional Ethics is in need of reform in order to improve due process, to prevent frivolous, politically motivated complaints and increase transparency. The American people should always be ahead of negative campaign tactics.”
UtahPolicy.com also reached out to Chaffetz’s office seeking a statement on why he voted for the proposal, but that has not been returned.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of House Democrats, pounced on the news that Love voted for the Goodlatte plan, blasting out a link to a story from September of 2015 where she faced ethics questions for allegedly misusing travel funds to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Love has reimbursed her House account for the travel expenses.
Rep. Chris Stewart’s office tells UtahPolicy.com he also voted in favor of the measure. He explained his vote in an email statement.
“Independent, non-partisan ethics committees are critical bodies to prevent abuse and fraud within our government. The rules vote last night would have simply restructured the jurisdictional hierarchy that determines where the Office of Congressional Ethics falls within the legislative branch and offered additional due process protections for those under investigation. We will spend the next few months working to get this reform right.”
UPDATE 3:10 PM
Rep. Bishop’s office responded to UtahPolicy.com with an email statement. They did not say which way Rep. Bishop voted on Monday night.
“Members of both parties have recognized major problems with this program, which is not working. It is wise to take our time and draft an appropriate solution that will solve, rather than perpetuate, problems.”
UPDATE 4:15 PM
Rep. Bishop’s office tells UtahPolicy.com he voted in favor of the Goodlatte proposal.