ethics

Capitol Ink | Cupid on ICE

House Democrats hire Obama ethics czar for oversight of Trump, DOJ
Norm Eisen will advise House Judiciary Committee as it investigates Trump and his Justice Department

Chairman Jerrold Nadler prepares to conduct the House Judiciary Committee markup of a resolution authorizing issuance of a subpoena to Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Obama administration ethics czar Norm Eisen has been hired by the House Judiciary Committee as it probes the Department of Justice and other aspects of the Trump administration and seeks to shield the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York has said that protecting the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the 2016 election, including possible ties between the Trump campaign team and Russia, is the committee’s No. 1 priority.

Joni Ernst repays D.C. $1,900 in taxes after claiming homestead tax break
In effect, the senator had claimed her Capitol Hill condo on as her primary residence

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, has re-paid Washington, D.C., for improperly claiming the homestead deduction. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Joni Ernst has paid back Washington, D.C., for improperly claiming a tax benefit reserved for people who make their primary residence in the District.

The Iowa Republican had claimed the D.C. homestead exemption, which reduces the value of primary residences for tax purposes. The Des Moines Register was first to report the senator’s repayment, which totaled almost $1,900 for taxes going back to 2016.

Omar apologizes for ‘anti-Semitic trope’ after criticism
‘My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,’ Omar said in a statement.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce a legislative package that would lower prescription drug prices in the U.S. on Jan. 10, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ilhan Omar issued a public apology for comments she made about the pro-Israel lobby buying lawmakers’ support for the country, which both Democrats and Republicans called an anti-Semitic trope.

“My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,” Omar said in a statement. “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

House offices on timeline to implement anti-harassment policies
The House took steps to further codify protections following last year’s dispute over how Congress should prevent harassment and discrimination

House offices have 60 days to implement an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House took steps Thursday to further codify a more appropriate culture on Capitol Hill, following last year’s prolonged dispute over how Congress should protect its own staff from harassment and discrimination.

The House Administration Committee voted to approve regulations for mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies for House offices. 

Capitol Ink | Vandal in Chief

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls out dark money ‘shaping’ questions about reform bill
Ethics expert calls it a ‘fox guarding the henhouse situation’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attends a House Financial Services Committee organizational meeting in Rayburn Building on Jan. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a hearing about government ethics, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned the spotlight on her colleagues in the room.

Can members of Congress finance their campaigns with the aid of corporate PACs representing industries like fossil fuels and pharmaceuticals, and then legislate according to the interests of those industries?

Democrats running for president want presidential transitions to share security clearance applicant lists
Elizabeth Warren is among the headliners on the new legislation

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are seen during testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most of the Senate Democrats running for president are headlining an effort to force presidential transitions to turn over lists of security clearance applicants to Congress.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is headlining the effort, and co-sponsors include potential or confirmed 2020 hopefuls like Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Senate Ethics Committee closes inquiry into Sen. Robert Menendez
New Jersey Democrat was ordered to reimburse friend $112,418.22 for travel and accommodations

A federal corruption case against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez ended in a mistrial in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Ethics Committee has closed an inquiry into Sen. Robert Menendez over allegations that he used his official position to benefit his friend, a Florida eye doctor.

The panel ended its investigation after the New Jersey Democrat reimbursed his friend and political ally for $112,418.22 in travel and accommodations costs incurred between 2006 and 2010, according to a letter dated Feb. 1.

House will advance HR 1 government overhaul package this month, Pelosi says
Timeline for advancing measure had become unclear after lingering shutdown

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says the House will vote this month on HR 1, a package of voting rights, campaign finance and ethics overhauls. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House will advance a package of voting rights, campaign finance and ethics overhauls this month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a “Dear Colleague” letter Monday night.

House Democrats have introduced the government overhaul package as HR 1 to reflect its priority status. They believe fundamentally changing the way government operates will increase public buy-in as Democrats pursue an economic policy agenda focused on issues such as heath care, infrastructure and climate change.