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Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge Introduces Reforms to Improve Office of Congressional Ethics

“The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) was created to provide more transparency in the House of Representatives. It was a commendable goal. We must now perfect its processes to ensure that those aims are achieved in a manner consistent with America’s sprit of justice. The processes must be fair to all people involved,” said Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11). “For instance, OCE is currently the accuser, judge, and jury. This isn’t the case in the American justice system, and it shouldn’t be so in Congress. This proposal brings Congress in line with America’s judicial system by creating a process truly free of politics, avoiding trials in the court of public opinion, and stopping the premature release of reports.” 

The newly introduced resolution, House Resolution 1416, would:

•    Prohibit unwarranted and premature publication of OCE's reports and findings that detail alleged allegations associated with violations;
•    Direct the OCE to amend its rules to clearly define the standard of proof required to (1) undertake a preliminary review; (2) commence a second-phase review of any matter; and (3) refer any matter to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the Committee);
•    Permit OCE's jurisdiction to be invoked only by a sworn complaint from a citizen asserting personal knowledge of an alleged violation; and
•    Authorize the Committee to dismiss a matter referred by the OCE as frivolous or unfounded and require the OCE to seal records associated with cases that are dismissed by the Committee as frivolous or unfounded.