The House of Representatives this week quietly approved changes to ethics rules that government watchdogs fear could help lawmakers obstruct investigations. The provisions from Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) takes aim at the House Ethics Committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), specifying that neither body can “take any action that would deny any person any right or protection provided under the Constitution of the United States” … any person under investigation “shall be informed of the right to be represented by counsel and invoking that right should not be held negatively against them.”
The OCE was created by Democrats in 2008 after they promised to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington.
Like Wisconsin Republicans stacking the courts with conservative activists, politicizing election oversight, pushing the constitutional boundaries whenever possible, and vowing to dismantle John Doe investigations, Congress is following suit. The line below, "on constitutional grounds as determined by members themselves," pretty much says it all. Nowadays, anyone can be a constitutional scholar:
Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, said the new language … is troubling because it turns the informal review of a complaint into a more formal legal proceeding … can be delayed and even derailed altogether,” Holman wrote. "The intent of this clause is to provide members with an additional authority to complicate ethics investigations. Even though all constitutional rights already apply to the ethics proceedings as determined by the courts, this clause ... enables challenges to ethics proceedings on constitutional grounds as determined by members themselves," he added.