AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Congressional ethics office that investigated Rep. Paul Broun gutted in the night

UPDATE: After facing widespread criticism for gutting the independent Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday, House Republicans abruptly reversed course Tuesday afternoon. The plan to gut the office received criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, including President-elect Donald Trump.

Here's my original post about the ethics office's investigation into former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia:

The independent Congressional ethics office that House Republicans voted to gut on Monday is the same office that uncovered alleged illegal activity in one former Georgia Congressman's office.

The move Monday to replace the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, if adopted by the full House, could mean that uncovering activity such as the illegal payments by then-U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia) could become more difficult.

Broun, who left office in 2015 and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, watched last year as his former chief of staff was indicted in a case where his office used taxpayer money to hire a political consultant.

The case first came to light in October 2014 when the ethics office released a report that found substantial evidence that Broun used his congressional office funds to hire the political consultant.

The political consultant pled guilty in federal court in September 2015 that he lied to congressional investigators about the illegal payments.

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About the Author

Brad Schrade is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on the AJC’s investigative team.