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To: U.S. Congress
Pass the CLEAN Act for ethics in Congress
We need to hold our elected officials to the highest ethical standards.
Congress must pass the CLEAN Act to codify the Office of Congressional Ethics into law and give it real power to investigate and enforce consequences for misconduct.
Why is this important?
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is an independent House ethics watchdog that Common Cause and others worked to create in 2008. It helped clean up corruption and make sure members of Congress were playing by the rules.
But right now, there’s no law permanently establishing this office. It only exists in the House rules package – and has to be reauthorized every two years as new House members are elected. It also doesn’t have subpoena power – limiting its ability to enforce any ethical standards.
The House Republicans’ rules package attempted to weaken this office. But our elected officials cannot play both judge and jury when investigating charges against their own colleagues. Without an internal, independent watchdog enforcing ethics, politicians could simply choose to look the other way – and expect their friends to do the same for them.
The CLEAN Act would codify this office into law – strengthening the OCE and giving it real power to investigate and enforce consequences for misconduct.