A Teachable Moment for House Republicans

Howard Schweitzer
202.912.4855
hschweitzer@cozen.com

Howard Schweitzer, managing partner of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, authored an op-ed article for CNN titled “A teachable moment for House Republicans.” In the piece, Howard dissects the House Republican Conference decision to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. Although the group quickly rescinded their notion, Howard acknowledges the damage to the incoming Congress as a result of their proposed changes to the independent organization. “If House Republicans want to get back on track, they will need to treat this as a teachable moment on the lessons of transparency in the Age of Trump,” he writes. The push to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics included propositions that it not be allowed to “make public statements”, “examine anonymous complaints” or “review any possible violations of criminal law.” Many involved anticipated the harm that the House Republicans’ image would face. “Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy initially reportedly opposed the move, no doubt understanding the PR nightmare that would await them when it became public,” Howard reasons. After President-elect Trump publicly reprimanded the decision on Twitter, writing “Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS,” the House Republicans quickly shifted gears on the decision. Howard recognizes the reasoning behind the decision saying, “There is indeed a legitimate case to be made for what the Republicans did.” However, the ethics group has often been effective in its pursuits to minimize corruption. “But I’ve had my own dealings with Office of Congressional Ethics and, without exception, found it to be thoughtful and deliberate,” Howard reflects. He commends Trump’s advocacy and believes he “rightly called out House Republicans’ fecklessness and misplaces priorities over his favorite medium, leading to a near immediate repeal.” Click here to view the full article.