On Monday, Business Insider reported that scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is enthusiastically and openly on board with Republican plans to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.
"I think it's fantastic," Santos told reporter Bryan Metzger, when asked if he was in favor of the rule changes. "It's a good thing for transparency, it's a good thing for Americans."
"The Office of Congressional Ethics, first established in 2008, is a quasi-independent body tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct against members of Congress," reported Metzger. "It then makes a determination as to whether those allegations are worth investigating further, at which point it makes a referral to the House Ethics Committee, which is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats."
Santos is currently facing a blizzard of allegations that he lied about almost every aspect of his life to voters during the campaign, including that he worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, that he ran a pet charity, and that he is Jewish and a son of Holocaust refugees, none of which is true.
A recent report also revealed he even had a staffer impersonate a GOP leadership chief of staff for donations, and he now faces a complaint alleging campaign finance violations.
"The rules package for the 118th Congress, put forward by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, re-imposes eight-year term limits for the OCE's board members, made up of former members of Congress, that were originally laid out when the office was established in 2008 and later extended in subsequent congresses," said the report, noting this will expel three of four Democratic members and potentially leave those seats vacant for months. "Furthermore, the rules prevent the office from hiring new staff after one month and require four board members to sign off on any staffing decision. That means the office — which currently has just one investigative counsel on staff and is actively seeking to hire two more — likely won't have enough time to hire new staff, and will not be able to fill any vacancies that might occur in the next two years."
Santos brushed aside these concerns, claiming that the old way just "gives them more power."
This is not the first time House Republicans have declared war on OCE. In 2017, they put forward a plan to effectively defang it entirely by putting it under the authority of the House Ethics Committee, only to abandon the plan when then-President Donald Trump tweeted he was opposed to the idea.