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Editorial 1-6
Trump earns points; Congress looks bad
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It's not a sign of promise that our national leaders wanted to begin the first day of the 115th Congress by gutting an independent congressional ethics board.
At a time when Americans are overrun with concerns about corruption in government, reducing oversight is not the direction we need to take. The fact details were hashed out in a secret meeting Monday before Congress even convened didn't help to put a smiley face on the situation either.
Thankfully, President-elect Trump, and his mighty Twitter account, came to the rescue Tuesday morning.
"With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority," Trump asked on his Twitter account.
Trump also included the hashtag #DTS, for "Drain the Swamp," his oft-repeated campaign promise to bring change to Washington.
Like well-trained lap dogs, members of Congress responded immediately.
"Starting the session by relaxing ethics rules is a very bad start," admitted GOP Rep. Tom McClintock of California.
Added House Speaker Paul Ryan, "The people have given us unified government, and it wasn't because they were feeling generous. It's because they wanted results. How could we live with ourselves if we let them down?"
After Trump's tweet, House members called an emergency meeting Tuesday to undo the change and keep the Office of Congressional Ethics intact.
It's vital to remember the ethics office, established in 2008, was formed after several bribery and corruption cases. The ethics office was at least window dressing to tell the public our U.S. Congress is concerned about wrongdoing and committed to serving the country with integrity.
By taking action to relax ethical oversight -- by a secret vote no less -- our current members of Congress are sending an entirely different message.
The main question we can ask from all this is simple: Why would honest legislators make a push for less ethical oversight?