'They're doing this because a lot of their members have committed illegal acts': Ted Lieu rails against ethics cuts
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) (Photo: Screen capture)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) attacked the Republican House officials for the budget cuts to the Ethics Committee at a time when he says many of its own members have documented ethics problems.

"You cannot hire staff after 30 days," Lieu told Raw Story when we caught up to him after a press conference by Democrats on the matter. "They're trying to shrink the office to nothing. And it's very clear they're doing this because a lot of their members have committed either unethical or illegal acts. Like George Santos. They're basically trying to protect him with this Rules package."

He said that the Ethics Committee, which may have been ineffectual in the past was at the very least bipartisan.

"And it's something that every member should support, which is you should have ethical congress and it's very striking and telling that the first act that the Republicans do is try to — not even try to — to gut the office."

What Republicans have done as part of their Rules package is to cut funding to the staff that work on the Ethics Committee. It means that they'll be forced to handle the same amount of work with fewer people, which means some ethical concerns could go unaddressed.

"The people who are watchdog for the ethical conduct of members of Congress — why would you want that?" Lieu said. "Santos was a deciding vote for Kevin McCarthy. And what you see is Kevin McCarthy being silent against George Santos' misconduct."

George Santos said on Monday that he was happy about the decision to gut the Ethics Committee, proclaiming it "Fantastic!'"

"The only logic I can see is that Kevin McCarthy needs George Santos' vote for Speaker," said Lieu. "And because their extreme MAGA Republicans have put into the Rules package that one person can file a motion to vacate, which would fire Kevin McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy knows he's always under threat to be taken out by his own caucus, which is why he needs George Santos' vote not just last week but continually."

During the press conference over the ethics move, Rep. Pete Aguilar (R-CA) echoed the same sentiment, "Kevin McCarthy owns George Santos -- lock, stock, and barrel ... that's the only reason why he was seated, is to give George Santos that ability to vote for Kevin McCarthy"

With additional reporting by Matt Laslo