In 2010 a group of legislators – including former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who had helped create the office, and Rep. Mel Watt – were part of an investigation into the Office of Congressional Ethics which was probing some contributions made to members of Congress by financial industry interests right around the time they were voting on the banking bill.
Rep. Pomeroy is no longer in office, but Rep. Watt still is and now he wants to slash the OCE’s budget.
WASHINGTON — A congressman who was investigated last year by the Office of Congressional Ethics has introduced an amendment to cut the office’s budget by 40 percent.
Though Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., was cleared of wrongdoing, in a letter Thursday to his colleagues Watt called the panel’s procedures “unfair and abusive” and said the more than $600,000 he proposes to cut from the office’s budget “wastes taxpayer money.”
“Ultimately, all the members charged were completely exonerated,” Watt said in the letter, referring to himself and seven other members of the House of Representatives. “However, all of these members incurred substantial expenses and experienced unjustified damage to their reputations in the middle of an election, and one of them actually lost his campaign.”
Watt was referring to former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., who lost to a tea party-backed candidate in a tough year for Democrats.
It’s a bit of a stretch to think that Rep. Pomeroy lost his seat because of this investigation – it was his vote for Obamacare along with North Dakotans finally seeing through his “Blue Dog” moderate facade – and it’s also a bit of a stretch to think of Rep. Rick Berg (who beat Pomeroy) as a “tea party candidate,” but it’s pretty clear that Watt’s crusade is pay back for the investigation. And watchdog groups in Washington DC are seeing right through it:
Watchdog groups say that Watt’s amendment is payback for the panel’s probe of him. Watt could not be reached for comment Thursday.
“He doesn’t like that it investigated him, and now he wants to get rid of it,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
How typically Washington. Ethics investigators got you down? Cut their budget!