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Trump Criticized Republicans' Surprise Move To Gut Ethics Watchdog

The president-elect rebuked Republicans for prioritizing the "weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog" over other issues.

Posted on January 3, 2017, at 10:17 a.m. ET

Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized House Republicans' surprise move to gut Congress’s independent ethics watchdog.

With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it

Republican members of the House moved to end Congress’s independent ethics office on Monday night, raising questions about the GOP's commitment to Donald Trump's campaign promise to "drain the swamp" and hold Washington officials accountable.

Despite opposition from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Republicans voted 119–74 during a closed-door meeting to adopt an amendment which would effectively strip the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) of its independence and place it under the jurisdiction of the House's Committee of Ethics.

The OCE was created in 2008 to investigate members of Congress accused of misconduct.

In tweets, Trump slammed Republicans for prioritizing the "weakening" of the watchdog over "so many other things of far greater importance."

........may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS

While Trump called the OCE "unfair," he criticized Republicans for making it their "number one act and priority" over other issues such as tax reform and health care.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer addressed the president-elect's tweets on the OCE, telling reporters Tuesday, "He says their focus should be on tax reform and health care. It's not a question of strengthening or weakening, it's a question of priorities."

In a statement Tuesday, Ryan responded to criticism of the amendment, saying the OCE will "continue to operate independently to provide public accountability to Congress."

He said that he had told the new chair of the House Ethics Committee "that it is not to interfere with the Office’s investigations or prevent it from doing its job."

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