MSNBC host Joe Scarborough lashed out on Tuesday at House Republicans over their decision to remove authority from an independent ethics committee designed to investigate internal wrongdoing.
“Dudes, dudettes, what’s wrong with you?” Scarborough asked on “Morning Joe.”
Bucking leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republicans voted in a conference meeting on Monday to reduce the authority of the Office of Congressional Ethics, a 2008 panel created by House Democrats who felt that the House Ethics Committee was not fulfilling its duty to hold members accountable.
The new rules would eliminate the OCE’s spokesperson, its ability to investigate anonymous tips, its ability to alert law enforcement if has identified a crime, and its authority to publicly release allegations of wrongdoing, a mandate that the formal House Ethics Committee does not have.
On Tuesday, Scarborough argued that President-elect Donald Trump should oppose the move, thereby honoring his campaign promise to clean up Washington selfishness and corruption.
“This seems like a great opportunity for the incoming president to show his independence, show he wants to drain the swamp, and immediately start hammering them on this,” Scarborough said. “This is ridiculous. This is what happens. Time and time again, a party takes control of power, and Republicans have complete power, and their first act out of the gate – it’s just complete arrogance. It’s a horrific misstep.”
Later in the show, he added: “This needs to be reversed. Paul Ryan needs to take charge, and say ‘You guys are looking like idiots and like you have something to hide. This is not how we’re supposed to start our new Republican era.'”
The incoming administration has remained relatively mum on the decision.
Though she said she had not spoken to the president-elect about the new rule, top Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared to slightly defend House Republicans’ decision to gut the ethics panel, claiming that the OCE had occasionally been overzealous in its investigations of lawmakers.
“They have many mechanisms in place where you can effectuate the kind of hypothetical you’re putting fourth,” Conway said when asked about the value of anonymous tips. “But I don’t want people to feel like ethics is gone. There are many ways for constituents particularly to make their voices heard.”