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We All Knew Republicans Don’t Care About Ethics but They Just Went and Made It Official

Expectations were low, but they should have been lower.

Kevin McCarthy grins and bangs a gavel in the House.

Kevin McCarthy is a goddamn asshole who sold his soul to the devil and Matt Gaetz to get where he is, and now has sold you, me, and the country out to hold on to power. He’s third in line to the presidency! Boooo!

It was fun to laugh at him as squirmed his way through 15(!) Speaker of the House votes, because that asshole fucked around and it seemed like he was on the cusp of finding out! He did not! Instead, he weaseled his way out of any real consequences, and now that shitgoblin’s party has unveiled their Rules package. It’s bad, friends. It’s bad! Elizabeth Warren agrees with me.

Let’s hone in on the Office of Congressional Ethics because I’m confident if you need to understand why unions are awesome, you can go watch the 1992 classic Newsies to be enlightened and entertained.

Per The New York Times:

The rules could hamper investigations by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which undertakes bipartisan inquiries and then makes recommendations for discipline to the Ethics Committee.

One rule imposes term limits for board members, with the result of removing all but one Democrat from the board at a time when it is considering whether to open an inquiry into certain Republican congressmen over their conduct related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The rules also require the board to approve the hiring of investigators within the first 30 days of a new Congress, which some ethics watchdogs fear could cause the office to go understaffed if hires are not made within that window. (Republicans contend that the rules ensure investigators are accountable to the board.)

This is where it can get a little confusing because The Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee are two separate things. Per The Washington Post:

Because nearly 9 in 10 House Republicans were elected in 2010 or after, a brief history lesson is in order: The OCE was established in 2008 on the recommendation of a bipartisan task force that spent a year studying how to clean up Congress after a slew of scandals, from those of Jack Abramoff and Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) to those surrounding Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.), William J. Jefferson (D-La.) and Mark Foley (R-Fla.). The Ethics Committee, which is composed of sitting House members and stays evenly split between Republicans and Democrats regardless of who is in control, had been too timid in pursuing allegations of wrongdoing by fellow lawmakers. The idea was to create a separate office of nonmembers who didn’t have conflicts of interest to serve as a screening mechanism to sift through allegations that might otherwise get swept under the rug, referring those who deserved more scrutiny to the Ethics Committee.

So basically, McCarthy wanted to be Speaker so badly, he made a deal with people who knew that they did some unethical things during the January 6th Insurrection and the only way McCarthy could secure their vote is if he agreed to weaken the committee that would dig into their behavior and make recommendations to the House Ethics Committee. Cool. Exactly the integrity you want to see from the man who again, is third in line to be President.

It’s always been about control and power with the GOP, and unfortunately, they have control of the House right now. The good news is, it’s with a very slim margin, and based on the fact it took 15(!) votes to secure his Speakership, I don’t think McCarthy is going to have a very easy time of it. It’s not that I think there are mythical moderate Republicans who want McCarthy to walk this all back, it’s that I went through a breakup in December and watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy five times in its entirety and those orcs really turn on each other if they have to spend more than a night with each other. Plus, George Santos is already under investigation on two continents and facing calls for ousting from his own party, so what are the odds that weirdo is making it out of the 118th Congress with his position intact? My bet is he’s going to try to convince us he’s actually Matt Gaetz by April, and then go on the run. McCarthy needs consensus with everything, and I think that is almost an impossible task. At least I hope.

Finally, because ultimately I am an optimist at heart, I will leave you with this statistic: According to Ballotpedia, there were 17 special elections in the 117th Congress, my friends. I’m not saying they would all break for Dems, I’m saying regardless of which party won, it would be work for McCarthy either way.

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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