Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), charged with violating House ethics rules, said today on ABC’s Good Morning America that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is “not very tight, they don’t do very good work, rather sloppy work.”
Waters is accused of seeking federal funds to bail out a bank in which her husband was a stockholder. She has denied breaking House rules.
OCE should not be confused with the House Ethics Committee. OCE was established in 2008 in recognition of how poorly the Ethics Committee does its job. Comprised of former members of Congress, it is slightly more independent of the House leadership.
The new office was already under attack from members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) introduced legislation at the end of May, co-sponsored by 19 other CBC members, to severely curtail the ability of the new office to investigate members of Congress.
OCE has initiated investigations of several CBC members. OCE referred the case of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) to the Ethics Committee, which admonished him for accepting corporate-funded junkets. OCE acted on news reports resulting from NLPC’s exposé of a 2008 St. Maarten trip funded by Citigroup and other large corporations.