House GOP Plans to Gut Ethics Commission, Block Archival of January 6 Records

McCarthy has proposed eliminating the office which is considering investigating him for actions related to January 6th.

House Rep. .

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), the Republican leader currently embroiled in a contentious battle over his candidacy for speaker of the House, has proposed new rules that would allow the party to remove the ethics commission that oversees members of the House, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

The proposed rule change comes as the office considers whether or not to initiate an investigation into Republican representatives and open them to disciplinary action for their role in the attack on the Capitol and their behavior during the subsequent investigation. The probe was opened by the committee January 6, which recommended in its final hearing that lawmakers who avoided subpoenas, including McCarthy herself, be investigated.

McCarthy had suggested imposing term limits on the OCE, which would eliminate every Democrat on the board of office but one. He has also proposed requiring the office to make all of its hiring within 30 days of a new Congress — hiring that cannot take place without a full board — which could cripple the agency and leave it understaffed for years.

Ethics watchdogs have spoken out against the proposed rule changes, saying Republicans are trying to circumvent the ethics rules and establish impunity for themselves and party leaders.

“At first glance, this seems neutral, but it seems clear it is crippling OCE,” Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, told Roll call. “Without a complete list, then they can’t really take action. Another provision says they must make a hiring decision within the first 30 days, but they can’t do that without a full list of board members.

“That [House GOP] plans to annihilate the Congressional Ethics Office, a transparent and audacious plot to let its members evade accountability for defrauding Americans, refusing to cooperate with [January 6] investigation, and who knows what else will come,” wrote Accountable.US on Twitter.

The new package also proposes a set of rules that appear to have been specifically created to obfuscate the large amount of documents amassed by the committee on the January 6 attack. Like other documents from hearings and investigations conducted by Congress, these records are set to be handled and maintained by the nonpartisan National Archives.

But the GOP is trying to make it so that the documents will fall under the purview of the House Administrative Committee – which the GOP is slated to control with its new majority – and will order the National Archives to submit the records to the committee in mid-January.

The GOP has yet to determine the reason for the change. But their motivation seems clear: to give politicians control over documents regarding attacks involving their own party, to obscure evidence and potentially erase records from federal archives.

The National Archives and its employees came under threat from the GOP after former President Donald Trump improperly brought classified government documents to his home in Mar-a-Lago in Florida, forcing the agency to refer Trump to the FBI to retrieve the documents. Since then, the institution has been increasingly politicized by rights, apparently set to politicize every component of the government in order to seize total power and achieve total impunity.

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