For the Hudson Institute's Kleptocracy Initiative, I looked at the implications of the House GOP's recent move to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) - and how Azerbaijan caused a rift between the OCE and the House Ethics Committee:
Perhaps the most disquieting proposed shift, however, stemmed from the House GOP’s proposal to allow the House Ethics Committee to stall any ongoing OCE investigation whenever the Ethics Committee so chose. As such, not only would the OCE have been prohibited from sharing any of its findings directly with the public, but, should the office manage to uncover any ethical transgressions in its research, the House Ethics Committee would have been under no obligation to publicize such findings – nor pursue such investigations any further.
The proposal, it goes without saying, presented a potentially massive regression in Washington’s attempts to curtail ethics and lobbying abuse in the post-Abramoff era. However, such proposals should not, on their face, be altogether surprising. Over the past few years a notable schism has erupted between the OCE and the Ethics Committee – arising, in no small part, due to the OCE’s investigations into foreign funding abuse by those pushing Azerbaijan’s interests in Washington.