Proving that it’s focused on more than just fiscal issues, the Tea Party movement has teamed up with some major government watchdog groups to defend the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent, bipartisan ethics committee that some House Democrats are fighting to shutter. The watchdogs include Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, U.S. PIRG, and Public Citizen:
The eclectic alliance comes after the Ohio Liberty Council, the main umbrella organization for 58 Tea Party groups in the state, publicly backed efforts to strengthen the OCE. Two weeks ago its president told The Hill that any attempt by House GOP leaders to weaken the OCE would upset Tea Party activists.
“If they move in the opposite direction of transparency that this office provides, I think we will be very upset about that,” said Chris Littleton, president of the Ohio Liberty Council and the Cincinnati Tea Party. “Symbolically, it’s a huge problem for them … they should be as transparent as they can be. Any opposition to that would be inappropriate on their part.”
This really shows how vastly the conservative movement has improved on ethics issues in just a few years. When the Office of Congressional Ethics was proposed by Democrats in 2008, it was met with strong opposition from the Republican Party. But now, rocked by numerous ethics scandals, Democratic leaders have been the ones openly calling for the committee to be dismantled.
A spokesman for Michael Steele said Republicans haven’t decided on whether to support the OCE yet, but it sounds like they’re leaning toward supporting it.
“We haven’t made a decision with regard to the OCE,” he told the Hill in an e-mail. “As you know, the only group of members publicly calling for it to be shut down at this point are Democrats.”