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House Leaders Make Appointments to Keep Independent Ethics Board Running

House leaders on Wednesday made eight appointments to the board of the Office of Congressional Ethics, enabling the independent fact-finding agency to continue its work in the 113th Congress.

Former congressman and CIA director Porter J. Goss, R-Fla., and former Rep. David Skaggs, D-Colo., will return as co-chairmen. Returning board members and alternates are: former Reps. Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, D-Calif., Karan English, D-Ariz., and Bill Frenzel, R-Minn.; former House Chief Administration Officer Jay Eagen and former Federal Election Commission Chief of Staff Allison Hayward. Former Rep. Mike Barnes, D-Md., is the lone new member of the OCE board, replacing former Rep. Abner Mikva, D-Ill., who retired.

A recent rules change allowed four of the board members to return, replacing a provision that would have mandated the first turnover of half its members since the office was created by the House in 2008.

“With these appointments, the Office of Congressional Ethics will continue to be entrusted with an active role in the ethics enforcement process for the House of Representatives. We thank these board members for their service and express our gratitude to them for their leadership,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.

Boehner and Pelosi’s statement thanked Mikva “for his outstanding service to the House and to the country.”

The OCE was established to review allegations of wrongdoing within the House and send its recommendations to the Ethics Committee, which has the ability to determine the outcome of a case and the appropriate sanctions. The OCE conducts its reviews in two stages: a preliminary 30-day review, followed by a 45-day second-phase review that may be extended for an additional two weeks.

Boehner and Pelosi each select four OCE board members with the other’s consent. Preliminary probes can only be launched with the consent of at least one Republican and one Democratic appointee; the approval of three board members, with a quorum of five voting, is needed to continue to the second phase. Four board members are needed to transmit the office’s findings to the Ethics Committee.

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