The House has withdrawn its plan to eviscerate the Office of Congressional Ethics. Many headlines gave credit to Trump’s tweet about the issue, when in fact representatives actually backed down because their offices were flooded with angry phone calls from constituents.
Don’t imagine that the OCE is now safe. Congressmen really, really don’t like having their ethics overseen. Twice in very recent history, the House has attempted to change ethics rules: in 2005, before the Office of Congressional Ethics existed, the newly sworn-in House has kicked off its agenda with a vote to dismiss complaints if the ethics committee were deadlocked; and in 2010, House members pushed to limit the OCE’s ability to report ethics violations to the Justice Department but backed off so as not to look bad in an election year. This will come back. Trump’s tweet didn’t tell the House to drop the issue; he just said they should cut taxes and repeal the ACA first. If you don’t remember what things were like before the OCE existed, The Atlantic has a nice overview of its creation.
The resolution to ban livestreaming and photography from the House floor passed, without the OCE amendment attached.
Transition Team & Cabinet Appointees
Jeff Sessions claims to have been involved in a whole bunch of civil rights cases in which he wasn’t. Members of the NAACP and Alabama NAACP staged a sit-in in his office Tuesday until they were arrested. More than 1,100 law school professors nationwide oppose Sessions’s nomination as attorney general in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Previously: Sessions has been selective about which parts of his résumé he included in the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation questionnaire.)
It turns out that the Vermont electric grid probably wasn’t hacked by Russians, just an employee’s malware-laden laptop.
What You Can Do
9. Think it takes 1000s of calls to influence an issue? NOPE—SEVENTEEN IS A LOT. Most of us can rustle up 17 people. https://t.co/K6L2ZHet6L
— Sarah Guan (@Sarah_Guan) January 3, 2017
If you don’t have your representatives’ numbers handy, call the Congressional switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred. Add that number to your contacts! It’s consistent, unlike the representatives’.