Ethics Committee Must Launch Investigations or Release OCE Fact Finding reports by Week's End


A report released today reveals that the House Ethics Committee has until Friday October 30, 2009 to empanel investigative subcommittees or to release reports compiled by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) related to ethics questions raised about Members of the House. The third quarter report issued by the OCE revealed the impending deadline for action by the Ethics Committee.

According to the report, the recommendations to the Committee may include "among other things, findings of fact and citations to laws, rules or regulations that may have been violated."

In a statement, the reform groups, U.S. PIRG, Public Citizen, Common Cause, Campaign Legal Center, The League of Women Voters, and Democracy 21 said:

"Friday is the first benchmark of the new transparency that was promised in the creation of the OCE on the heels of Speaker Pelosi's commitment to 'the most honest most open and most ethical Congress in history.' We look forward to this milestone in the OCE's brief history."

The independent OCE was created by the house to increase transparency and accountability in the House ethics process. It first began operating during this Congress,

The quarterly report issued today explained that the OCE had referred several of its preliminary investigations into potential ethics violations to the full House ethics committee ("Standards Committee"). The report further indicated that the deadline for ethics committee action in several cases would be Friday.

"Under House rules, the House ethics committee has two options upon reaching this deadline: it can release the OCE reports or it can formally open an investigation of the referred cases, or empanelling a subcommittee," the statement continued. "The OCE was created as part of an effort to restore integrity and public credibility in the House ethics process. We hope this October deadline will be the beginning of a new level of transparency of the ethics process."

To view the report, click here .