Ethics Committee

What did the Senate Ethics Committee do last year?
The committee, mostly known for its inaction, issued no disciplinary sanctions on 138 complaints it received last year

The Senate Ethics Committee passed on a complaint against Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Ethics Committee, mostly known for how little action it takes, received 138 reports of violations of Senate rules in 2018, with zero resulting in a disciplinary sanction.

The committee has rarely taken action in recent years, and punishments are even more scarce. The ethics panel has jurisdiction over formal allegations of violations of the Senate Code of Official Conduct and violations of the rules and regulations of the Senate. It also has the authority to recommend disciplinary action and report violations of law to law enforcement.

Ethics Committee Cites ‘Recent Experience’ as Need for Sexual Harassment Overhaul
Panel suggests difficulty obtaining information from the Office of Compliance

The House Ethics Committee is urging quick passage of legislation to address sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 10 members of the House Ethics Committee are urging the top four congressional leaders to quickly pass anti-sexual harassment legislation to overhaul the Congressional Accountability Act, noting the House bill would provide solutions to problems the panel has encountered this year. 

In a letter dated Monday that all members signed, they cite the House bill’s provision that would require the Office of Compliance, which would be renamed the Office of Workplace Rights, to refer certain matters to the committee, providing the panel access to any records regarding investigations, hearings, decisions, settlements or claims.

Ep. 34: GOP’s Ethics Debacle Could Keep Focus on Trump
The Week Ahead

House Republicans’ late night, closed-door effort to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics gave Democrats a winning messaging tool, says CQ Roll Call’s Money and Politics reporter Kate Ackley. The public relations debacle also could result in keeping the spotlight on President-elect Donald Trump’s perceived conflicts of interest, adds Editor Catalina Camia. Also, did you know that the ‘drain the swamp’ phrase popularized by Trump was first used by a leading Democrat?

Show Notes:

House Ethics Committee Clears Vern Buchanan
Panel cites insufficient evidence against Florida congressman

The House Ethics Committee cleared Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan over allegations that he improperly tampered with witness testimony and misused campaign funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four years after it launched an investigation into allegations of improper dealings by Rep. Vern Buchanan, the House Ethics Committee announced Friday it is dropping the case.   

[ Read: Ethics Report on Vernon Buchanan ]  

Murphy: Claims of Confidentiality Breach ‘Ridiculous’
Florida Democrats argue over ethics probe

Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., denies leaking information about an ethics probe into his campaign foe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Patrick Murphy on Wednesday dismissed as "nonsense and distractions" claims that his staff leaked information on an ethics probe of fellow Florida Democratic congressman and Senate campaign rival Alan Grayson.  

Murphy also denied that his campaign paid for developing the initial request for the Office of Congressional Ethics to review Grayson’s financial dealings, and said Grayson was unfit to serve.  

Corrine Brown on Ethics Investigation: 'I am Clean'
Blames Justice and House probes on 'an organized effort to take me out'

The House Ethics Committee handed its investigation into Corrine Brown to the Justice Department. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In fiery remarks on Friday that briefly turned into a plea for donations, a defiant Rep. Corrine Brown called the Justice Department’s investigation of her financial dealings “an organized effort to take me out.”  

The Florida Democrat, who also is facing scrutiny over the matter by the House Ethics Committee, said she was confident that she would come out unscathed.  

House Ethics Committee to Investigate Rep. Corrine Brown
Campaign Finance is at Center of Allegations Against Florida Democrat; DOJ is Also Investigating

Rep. Corrine Brown is being investigated by the Department of Justice as well. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee will investigate allegations that Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., violated the code of official conduct in connection with campaign finance and other financial dealings, it said on Wednesday.  

But the panel will defer its probe while the Justice Department is conducting its own investigation.  

Corker's Lowball Financial Disclosure — a Symptom of a Bigger Problem?

Corker retained a CPA to review his financial disclosures. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reading through the addendum to Sen. Bob Corker's financial disclosure, you might think the Tennessee Republican had been seriously misreporting assets and income.

But the reality might more underscore the shortfalls of the system.