The first few months of 2015 brought a flurry of activity at the Office of Congressional Ethics, with the quasi-independent agency launching 15 preliminary reviews of allegations of misconduct involving members or staff of the House. The office also lost its chairman, former Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla.
According to the quarterly report from the OCE, 13 of those investigations were on track to be sent to the House Ethics Committee for further review, and will eventually be made public if they are not recommended for dismissal. For now it is unclear who or what is being probed, though former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is not a target. The OCE only has jurisdiction over current members and employees of the House. Since its 2009 inception, the plurality of the OCE’s investigations have involved campaign activities and the first quarter of the year typically proves to be a busy season. During the 113th Congress, the OCE commenced with 36 preliminary reviews, with 9 investigations launched in the first quarter of 2013 and 17 in the first quarter of 2014.
Goss, who represented Southwest Florida in Congress for 16 years before becoming President George W. Bush’s CIA director, resigned from the board of OCE on April 21 take a job on Dickstein Shapiro LLP Public Policy & Political Law Practice as a senior adviser.
Filling the vacancy is Judy Biggert, a Republican who represented the Chicago suburbs in Congress for seven terms, and served on the House Ethics Committee from 2001 to 2006. Biggert will act as co-chairwoman until a long-term replacement is selected.
Ethics Investigations Since 2009 — in One Chart
The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress
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