The House on Friday rejected a proposal to cut funding for the independent Office of Congressional Ethics by a 102-302 vote.
The amendment, offered by Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act would have slashed $619,200 from the OCE’s $1.5 million budget.
Watts, who was himself the subject of an OCE investigation last year and later cleared of wrongdoing, had urged his colleagues to weaken the “redundant and duplicative” office that is “unfair and abusive of the rights of Members of the House,” according to a letter that he circulated Thursday.
Experts say a 40 percent cut in its operating budget would have severely hampered the OCE’s ability to conduct investigations of Congressional wrongdoing and report its findings to the House Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee and the OCE have frequently clashed over the proper application of House ethics standards.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.