White House Pulls Ethics Language From Web Site

Posted January 22, 2009 at 2:40pm

The White House has removed from its Web site a series of ethics proposals that included calling on the Senate to establish an independent ethics oversight office.

Roll Call reported Wednesday that the new White House Web site — launched just after President Barack Obama was inaugurated Tuesday — included a list of ethics reform proposals that would apply to Congress, including new earmark disclosure guidelines, requirements for public mark-ups of legislation and a call for a new Senate office to investigate ethics complaints. The last idea had been voted down in the Senate during the 110th Congress.

The language of the ethics agenda was almost identical to language on change.gov, the Web site that Obama maintained during the transition, but it had been updated to reflect the new titles of Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden, as well as to remove the future tense references to their plans after taking office.

By Thursday afternoon, the ethics area on the White House site had been scrubbed. All that remains now on the “ethics” tab is the following note:

“The ethics section is currently being revised to reflect President Obama’s Executive Order concerning Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel, issued on January 21, 2009. Please check back soon.”

The White House press office could not be reached to explain why the previous language has been removed.