About that swamp-draining idea … try this

Donald J. Trump once pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., making it a better place to enact laws and to do the public’s business.

Let’s get away from that notion, say Republicans in Congress.

How? Oh, let’s just no longer have an independent ethics organization serving as a watchdog of congressional activities and then we’ll just have such activities overseen by, that’s it, Congress itself!

See how it works?

If there’s something suspicious being done by a member of Congress, why we’ll just have his or her pals in Congress do the investigating and then determine whether there should be any sanction delivered to the offending member.

Do you think that’s going to work?

Aww, me neither.

The House Republican caucus has adopted a new rule proposed by House Ethics Committee Chairman Bob Goodlate, R-Va., to let his panel handle all ethics investigations. It will disband the Office of Congressional Ethics this week.


Congress created the independent watchdog arm under the leadership of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in 2008.

According to The Hill, the new law “would bar the office from considering anonymous tips about potential ethics violations and prevent disclosures about investigations.”

Interesting, yes? I think so. You see, quite often tipsters with information to pass along need to remain anonymous to protect themselves against retribution.

Journalists, for instance, get tipped off anonymously all the time; the practice, though, is for the journalist to obtain the name of the tipster while pledging not to reveal his or her name publicly while developing a news story. What is so terrible about a congressional watchdog group operating under the same sort of ground rule?

Trump reportedly has advised his transition team to scrap the “drain the swamp” mantra as they talk about the incoming administration. I believe I am now understanding why the president-elect no longer is wedded to the idea.

His GOP pals are refilling that very swamp.

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