GOP needs to gut ethics panel because Congress members are the real victims, Kellyanne Conway says

Trump’s counselor is concerned about the “due process rights” of elected officials.

CREDIT: NBC screengrab
CREDIT: NBC screengrab

During a Tuesday morning appearance on Today, Kellyanne Conway defended House Republicans’ move to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Asked by host Matt Lauer about whether the move indicates Republicans aren’t actually serious about following through on President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., Conway — who managed Trump’s campaign and will soon become his White House counselor — said she doesn’t interpret it that way.

“I don’t want your viewers to be left with the impression that there’s no mechanism to investigate what I would call consumer complaints, constituent complaints,” Conway said. “There’s a new office. And this new office will really cut down on the overzealousness.”

According to a Politico report, House Republicans’ Monday night vote to bring the oversight body under the thumb of the very elected officials it’s supposed to investigate was spearheaded “by several members who felt they had been wrongfully accused of unethical behavior by the Office of Congressional Ethics,” which was created in 2008 in the wake of the Jack Amramoff corruption scandal.

As ThinkProgress detailed, the changes House Republicans voted for — which are contingent on approval by the full House on Tuesday — appear designed to make it easier for members of Congress to sweep misconduct under the rug.

But Conway characterized the changes to the ethics panel as simply protecting members’ due process rights.

“Many of these people — members and their staffers who have been under investigation — have complained about their due process rights being violated and being compromised,” she said. “They need protections as well.”

A couple hours later, Trump himself criticized House Republicans for moving to curtail oversight when they have “so many other things of far greater importance” to do.

Trump posted his tweets shortly after a bipartisan group of organizations and government officials sent him a letter regarding his own ethical and legal issues, warning him that “the only way” to solve his myriad conflict of interest problems is “divesting your business enterprises into a blind trust managed by an independent trustee or the equivalent.”


“As long as you continue to maintain ownership of The Trump Organization, no other steps that you take will prevent the serious conflicts of interest, appearance of conflicts, and Emoluments Clause problems that will exist throughout your presidency,” the letter adds.

The “Emoluments Clause problems” the letter refers to could result in Trump violating the Constitution shortly after he takes office on January 20. But whether Trump is held accountable for it will be up to the same Republicans who want to weaken ethical oversight of Congress.