Donald Trump was on the money when he recognized that the ethics office House Republicans attempted to defang was unfair and unaccountable, but at the same time it was a dumb way to prioritize the expending of their political capital.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">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</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/816298944456232960">January 3, 2017</a></blockquote>
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In the first 2017 episode of the Conservative Conscience, Daniel explains why Republicans were right to gut the Pelosi-era, unaccountable ethics office, but at the same time the optics of the way they did it were cringe-worthy. Republicans must remember that they will need to employ legitimate strong-arm tactics to save the country by repealing Obamacare, reforming immigration and refugee resettlement, and reclaiming power from the unelected judiciary. Why expend it on an issue that is nearly impossible to message to their constituents? Ultimate, it would have been better for Republicans to make these changes more gradually and in broad daylight.
Nonetheless, on the substance of the Office of Congressional Ethics, the Republican majority was correct. As bad as corrupt members are, the corruption of falsely accusing people of corruption without due process is even worse. Ultimately, it is up to the FBI to investigate criminal charges and up to the members themselves – led by the standing Ethics Committee – to police violations of House rules and ethics. That is why we have elections.
The media is being very dishonest, evincing the notion that this office is somehow enshrined into our laws. It was in fact created not by statue but by the very same House rules process Republicans are using now. The unelected body stocked with progressives worked with left-wing groups to try people in the court of public opinion without the accuser having to divulge his name and without informing the member of the investigation. Even members of Congress deserve the right to defend themselves and be afforded due process when being investigated by their political enemies on the taxpayer dime. The existing structure of the Ethics Committee in the Senate and what used to be in place before Pelosi in the House afforded basic due process rights such as witnesses, right to counsel, etc. to members.
With that said, it would be one thing if Republicans took a principled stance on other more consequential policy issues. But if this turns out to be their only bold stance of the month – while shirking their responsibility to fully repeal Obamacare and defund the UN – this will prove once again that they have not changed from their modus operandi as the stupid party. Ultimately, Republicans were forced to retreat amidst backlash, as always.
Finally, Daniel discusses some of his upcoming articles detailing a positive conservative agenda that, unlike what Republican just did, is actually broadly popular with the public.