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October 2014 
The Case for Independent Ethics Agencies 
The Office Congressional Ethics Six Years Later, and History Failed Senate Accountability 
 
 
Acknowledgments 
This analysis was written Craig Holman, Ph.D., government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, and Victoria Hall-Palerm, legal research associate. Earlier research Common Cause the Decade Inaction provided some the data upon which conclusions this analysis are based.

100

120

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

SSCE Letters
Admonition

SSCE Disciplinary
Sanctions

Total Complaints

Senate  Committee Ethics  Annual Report Data 
Comparing Volume Complaints with Actions Taken

1789-1862

1863-1954

1955-Present

Censure

Investigation (No Expulsion)

Expulsion

Disciplinary Actions the Senate 

 
About Public Citizen 
Public Citizen national non-profit organization with more than 300,000 members and supporters. represent consumer interests through lobbying, litigation, administrative advocacy, research, and public education broad range issues including consumer rights the marketplace, product safety, financial regulation, worker safety, safe and affordable health care, campaign finance reform and government ethics, fair trade, climate change, and corporate and government accountability. 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
Public Citizens Congress Watch 
215 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E 
Washington, D.C. 20003 202-546-4996 202-547-7392 
http://www.citizen.org 
 
 2014 Public Citizen. Introduction: Office Congressional Ethics has Enhanced Ethics Accountability the House Office Congressional Ethics (OCE), established March 2008 the U.S. House Representatives, the first semi-independent office history oversee and complement implementation and enforcement the congressional ethics process. OCE nonpartisan, fact-finding entity, with the primary purpose investigating allegations improper conduct Members and congressional staff and making meritorious investigations matter public record. the initial investigation warrants further action, the cases are then referred the House Ethics Committee. The House Ethics Committee has exclusive authority determine whether adjudicate cases and offers recommendations the full House concerning what actions, any, should taken result the investigations. addition providing case record supplement formal investigations possible ethical misconduct, referrals made from OCE the House Ethics Committee eventually become public record. This added transparency alone highlights the significance OCE the congressional ethics process and reaches its core mission, which give the public window into ethics enforcement the United States House Representatives.1 Office Congressional Ethics blog, Welcome the New Online OCE, (June 2010), available at: http://oce.house.gov/2010/03/welcome-to-the-oces-new-site.html 
Previously, the ethics process both chambers Congress had been run entirely Members Congress themselves and the investigations and formal actions the ethics committees generally remained out the public domain  until such time news story was leaked public reprimands were issued Congress. This air secrecy resulted widely perceived moribund ethics process that became alarmingly obvious the wake the Jack Abramoff scandals. 
This analysis finds that the work the Office Congressional Ethics has had dramatic impact the activity and accountability the House Ethics Committee. shown below, the number disciplinary actions taken the House Ethics Committee  though certainly not large overall numbers  increased drastically the six short years that OCE has been operating compared the full previous decade the Committees history. From 1997 through 2005, the House Ethics Committee issued only five recorded disciplinary actions against Members staff the House. From 2006 through 2008, the three years highlighted the Abramoff scandal that resulted nearly two dozen convictions guilty 
pleas the Department Justice,2 the House Ethics Committee again issued only five disciplinary actions. But the House Ethics Committee has issued disciplinary actions between 2009 and 2014, largely done with the help the investigations and transparency OCE. [See Appendix Congressional Ethics Enforcement: From Decade Inaction OCE Period Accountability.] Dan Froomkin, Jack Abramoff, New Book, Decries Endemic Corruption, Huffington Post (Oct. 28, 2011), available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/28/jack-abramoff-new-book-corruption-in-washington_n_1064602.html 
While the increase public disciplinary actions shows more active and accountable House Ethics Committee, there little indication that the Committee becoming over-zealous its ethics monitoring and enforcement. The number disciplinary actions still not high, and within each case, the Committee usually moved slowly and considered and ruled upon preponderance evidence.  
The Office Congressional Ethics also demonstrating the same prudence approaching its work. the thousand more private allegations misconduct that OCE receives throughout each Congress, only thirty fifty cases receive preliminary reviews. For the 112th Congress, OCE opened preliminary reviews, five which were promptly terminated, and which ended dismissal upon extended investigation. 
This prudent, but noticeable, increase the efficacy the House Ethics Committee also serves stark contrast the continued lethargy the Senate Ethics Committee. the absence independent fact-finding office assist (and encourage) the Senate Committees efforts, negligible number disciplinary actions have been taken. The analysis below compares the lack Ethics Committee censures and punishments the Senate with well-known incidents corruption among Senators reported the media make the case for Office Public Integrity serve supplemental investigatory body the Senate Ethics Committee. 
 
II. History and Operations OCE 

 
Neither the House Ethics Committee nor the Senate Ethics Committee has historically inspired much confidence with the public. Both committees are run exclusively Members and managed their own staff. The ethics committees are evenly divided Republican and Democratic Members, measure that lessens the fear partisanship enforcement actions the cost generating heightened bipartisan inactivity. addition, the pledge confidentiality among all committee Members and staff sometimes taken 
such extremes that the public may never know when, if, allegations unethical behavior have been addressed.  
Simply put, having current Members police themselves and their colleagues contains inherent conflict. The ethics committees are condemned partisan and opportunistic they are aggressive, and condemned covering problems they are passive.3 While the public has had little cause feel the former concern, given the low rates disciplinary action taken either committee, the latter clearly what the public believed when they read about scandal after scandal Capitol Hill and yet saw very few disciplinary actions pursued the ethics committees. Norm Ornstein, The Senate Unable Police Itself Adequately, Roll Call (March 2006). 
That set motion campaign for congressional and lobbying ethics reforms, culminating the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act 2007, well drive change the congressional ethics enforcement process. independent panel oversee the work the Senate Ethics Committee, known the Office Public Integrity, was proposed Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) 2006, but was rejected the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Meanwhile, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) formed task force study and propose similar independent ethics panel for the House. The task force, chaired Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), proposed the Office Congressional Ethics complement the work the House Ethics Committee. The proposal was approved 2008 rule governing the procedures the House H.Res. 895.  
H.Res. 895 established OCE non-partisan and semi-independent agency, run eight-person Board Governors (six active board members and two alternates). Members the Board OCE cannot serve Members Congress, work for the federal government, registered lobbyists. Four Board members each are appointed the Speaker the House subject the concurrence the Minority leader, and four Board members are appointed the Minority Leader subject the concurrence the Speaker. its inception, the members the Board had term limit two Congresses (in other words, four years), but the House has since amended its rules allow members the Board continue serving without limit.  
OCE may receive complaints from any source initiate investigations its own. However, the agency lacks subpoena power. order open preliminary review lasting more than days, two Board members (one appointed the Speaker, one the Minority leader) must find reasonable evidence proceed. authorize second-phase investigation lasting longer than days, three Board members must find probable cause. For OCE make referral the House Ethics Committee for further review, four Board members must find substantial reason believe violation occurred. OCEs report the Ethics Committee may not make any determination guilt recommendation for penalties. 
Reports from OCE the Committee shall made public within calendar days (subject extension the Committee for another days), the conclusion any investigation the Committee, whichever comes later. The Committee may delay disclosure the report requested law enforcement agency, though must notify the public annually that deferring taking action pending the request.  
III. House Rules: Brief Explanation 

According the Constitution, the commencement each session Congress, the members that Congress can choose their own rules procedure. the Senate, since only one third the body for election reelection time, the body and large continuous from session session. Therefore, the Senate rules remain the books effectively unquestioned during the turnover between Congresses, unless there active desire revisit and amend repeal one the rules. (As such, office similar OCE were established the Senate rules, would exist without incident need for re-approval until there was motion revisit it.) 
Conversely, since the entirety the House stands for reelection every two years, the start each new Congress functionally completely new body. For this reason, the House rules must re-approved the start each new session. And while each Congress typically takes the rules from the previous one and adopts them their own (generally through House Resolution pulling forward the old rules, such H.Res. the 113th Congress), there always the potential for amendments eliminations from the preexisting rules.  
When 2008, the House created the Office Congressional Ethics, did passing resolution (H.Res. 895) incorporating OCEs existence into the House Rules. Language regarding OCE was added Section the Rules, which concerns special committees; OCE exists, therefore, supplement the House Committee Ethics prescribed the rules. H.Res. 895 effectively implemented OCE for the duration the 110th Congress, and provided the language the House Rules stipulating the terms its existence; the hope, clearly, was that inserting this language into the rules, future Congresses would simply re-approve OCE the start each new session, since all they had was continue using this language. date, Congress has done so; the 113th Congress even took proactive action, amending some the terms surrounding OCE eliminate the term limits Board members promising step, since eliminates the delay the start each new Congress during which 
the Speaker and Minority Leader had spend time selecting Board members). However, this guarantee that future Members will, have to, keep OCE.  
Therefore, currently stands, the existence the Office Congressional Ethics put into flux the outset each new Congress. There have been complaints from both sides the aisle about the workings OCE; would well, however, recall that none the complaints has been due the inefficacy the Office. Rather, the complaints seem spring from Members Congress disgruntled just how well the House Committee and OCE work together promote accountability, thereby inhibiting Members ability act unnoticed.  
 
There are other options for how adequately define and house OCE. One, which have recommended before, would involve codifying the Office through legislation. other words, create law mandating the existence OCE; that case, the only way eliminate the Office would actively amending repealing the law. Until that point, there would need for re-approval the Office.  
 
But getting law through both the House and Senate ambitious goal; there another possible solution found appropriations legislation. remain existence, OCE requires both authorization, which currently stems from the House rules, and funding for its work, which comes from appropriations bills. Appropriations legislation, however, could act authorization for OCEs existence, either including language that effect citing language from previous House resolution. other words, appropriations bill allocating money office that has been authorized previous resolution, that office itself must, almost definition, continue exist. This would mean that the House rules would not necessarily have include explanation OCEs functions, since that language already exists elsewhere.  
 
IV. OCE Critical Companion the House Ethics Process 

The Office Congressional Ethics has played key role enhancing the work the House Ethics Committee, proving crucial adjunct the Committee without supplanting Congress the final arbiter ethics. The supplemental investigative work and additional transparency offered OCE unquestionably has helped boost the case record the Ethics Committee, which drawing praise from many quarters, including Public Citizen. Yet, this boost ethics accountability does not appear overwhelming and being handled prudently and reasonably the House Ethics Committee. Neither OCE nor the House Ethics Committee has gone investigative rampage, and both organizations issue findings only after lengthy testimony, investigation, and deliberation.  
Despite this ostensible success, unsurprising that the relationship between OCE and the Ethics Committee has times been testy, especially the outset their partnership. Given the newness the independent panel and the sometimes overlapping nature their responsibilities, bit tension was bound occur. But cooperation between OCE and the Committee clearly improved over the course the 112th Congress, and the 113th Congress the two seem working tandem quite happily, evidenced the fact that the Committee has acted every referral from OCE and even publishes these referral reports themselves. The Committee proudly displays and explains its relationship with OCE its website, and includes information its annual and quarterly reports about the referrals receives from OCE. OCE turn designates staff person the point contact with the Committee each referral order provide clarification supplemental information more efficiently. 
Promisingly, the years since the most recent report OCEs efficacy, the rate investigations, both OCE and the Committee itself, has not slowed. The 112th Congress ended its term having opened new investigations, coming out referrals from OCE, and which were concluded with public resolutions. The 113th Congress, meanwhile, has thus far instigated new investigations and carried over from the 112th Congress.  
Moreover, the increased transparency OCEs recommendations and investigations has quite possibly galvanized the Committee into launching more investigations its own. Thus far the 113th Congress, OCE has sent referrals the Committee, while the Committee has opened investigations, clearly demonstrating that the Committee taking more initiative with its own research. would stretch infer that OCEs public investigation records and recommendations have played some role this trend. time recognize that the Office Congressional Ethics and House Ethics Committee have evolved responsible partners the congressional ethics process. OCE must not only re-authorized, but the House should seriously consider measures make OCE more stable and lasting institution avoid unnecessary interruptions ethics monitoring and enforcement. also time for the U.S. Senate consider taking similar steps toward more accountable ethics process. The Need for Equivalent Senate Organization see how much the U.S. Senate Select Committee Ethics could benefit from organization like OCE work alongside it, one need only compare the House Committee data the years since OCE with that the Senates. the years since 2007 (the first year for which Annual Report data available for the Senate, thanks the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act), exactly zero disciplinary actions beyond few letters admonitionhave been taken against senators. The Committee has issued grand total three letters admonition. the alleged violations reported the Committee each year, number which ranges from (in 2013) (in 2009), the overwhelming majority are dismissed without even preliminary inquiry.  
The disparity between the House and the Senate better seen percentages. 2013, there were alleged ethics violations reported the Senate Committee; those allegations, were dismissed for lack jurisdiction lack evident misconduct, and seven were dismissed due lack facts. Only two preliminary investigations were commenced mere the allegations), and neither led even adjudicatory review, let alone sanctions. Conversely, the first quarter 2014 alone, OCE received 110 private reports potential misconduct. From these 110 reports, OCE launched preliminary investigations (just over 15%), five which went into Phase II, and one which was referred the House Committee for further review.  Clearly, with those investigations resulting almost immediate termination, OCE not overzealous its hunt for misconduct and exercising restraint its referrals for review. However, its case record consistently higher than the Senates, inspiring more confidence the Offices commitment integrity than the Senate Committees. 
Equally troubling the Senate the fact that since 2007, the number alleged violations reported the Committee has been consistently declining. 2007-2009, reports alleged violations were usually the high 80s even 90s, whereas 2012 that number had dropped 47, and the following year was down 26. seems reasonable assume that this comes less from increased ethical commitment among senators than from decreased vigilance and reporting those around them. Clearly the time has come for the Senate embrace partner organization along the lines OCE, given that reports misconduct are waning and conversion allegations into concrete disciplinary action seems, frankly, nonexistent.   
Nor the Senate Ethics Committees inaction new phenomenon. its long history, the Senate has had remarkable tradition protecting its own members. The Senate website proudly states that since 1789, the Senate has expelled only members, whom were expelled for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War. Since 1862, there have been handful expulsion cases, most which resulted expulsion, and six which were concluded when the senators resigned before verdict was reached.  
But leaving aside expulsion, which admittedly drastic measure, even the number censured senators astonishingly low. Not between 1789 and 1990, they censured only nine Senators. Since 2002, the Ethics Committee has issued five public Letters Qualified Admonition its members. Unless United States Senators exhibit degree integrity unlike that their House counterparts, there clearly institutional deficit monitoring unsavory activity the Senate. [See Appendix Senate Ethics Committee Inactivity.] 
VI. Senate Scandals course, lack disciplinary action the Senate doesnt necessarily mean that the Ethics Committee not policing senators strictly enough; could that there simply less malicious activity punish investigate among senators. Evidence, however, points elsewhere. Take the case former Senator Ted Stevens, vocal opponent organization along the lines OCE for the Senate. the very same time that the Senate voted not establish independent ethics office, claiming that the Ethics Committee worked just fine, allegations corruption against Stevens were first surfacing. Stevens, ironically once the chairman the Senate Select Committee Ethics, remodeled his Anchorage home with the use oil corporation called VECO. The remodel would have cost the Corporation and its various contractors easily $250,000; Stevens, however, paid $160,000. Bill Allen, founder the VECO Corporation, meanwhile, had earlier pled guilty bribing Alaskan state legislators. These discrepancies were investigated both the FBI and the IRS, given that Stevens reported gifts from VECO, and grand jury indicted Stevens seven counts failing properly report gifts July 2008. Three months later, was convicted all seven counts, making him only the fifth senator ever convicted jury the United States history.  
Throughout this entire investigation, which was, notably, conducted through the Public Integrity Section the Department Justice, the Senate Committee Ethics remained notably silent. After Stevens conviction, which point was still running for reelection Alaska, numerous members both the Republican and Democratic Party called for his resignation. Senator McConnell intimated that convicted felon would not find the Senate particularly welcoming, suggesting that the Senate would swiftly vote expel him.  
Despite McConnells harsh words, however, the Committees records themselves indicate very little preoccupation with Stevens misconduct. The Annual Report from 2008 states that the alleged violations that year, which one might imagine numerous concerned Senator Stevens, none resulted disciplinary action. Two resulted private public 
letters admonition; even this matter, was not made public whether one those letters had with the matter Stevens conviction.  
Nor Mr. Stevens the only senator have been involved publicly-alleged wrongdoings recent history. Take, for example, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), who frequently cited the Center for Responsibility and Ethics and Washington (CREW) one the most corrupt politicians today. According reports, Senator Vitter sent letter then-Secretary the Department the Interior Ken Salazar informing him that Salazars salary was for raise, and that Vitter would resist the raise unless Salazar issued exploratory permits. Conceivably, this threat could prosecuted form bribery: Senator Vitter made pay raise contingent Salazar complying with his wishes. Salazar responded declining comply, and sent his refusal Senators Reid and McConnell. The result? The Senate Ethics Committee dismissed the complaint against him, explaining that there was currently clear Senate guidance addressing such conduct.4 Instead finding him violation ethics rules, the Committee dismissed the case for lack precedent and then clarified the Senate that, for future reference, this was something senators ought not do. U.S. Senate Select Committee Ethics website, Senator David Vitter  Letter Dismissing Complaint, (March 30, 2012), available at: http://www.ethics.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=ba27f460-6cf2-4330-9455-84cf04c8b8e7 Jeffrey Birnbaum, Senate Votes Down Outside Ethics Office, Washington Post (March 29, 2006), available http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/28/AR2006032801586.html 
That not all  take Senator John Ensigns affair with his PAC Treasurer, Cynthia Hampton, followed his eight payments $12,000 the Hampton family following the resignation Doug Hampton (Ensigns administrative assistant and Cynthia Hamptons husband). The incident occurred 2009; Ensign resigned from the Senate 2011. that two-year window, the Senate Ethics Committee made visible progress towards even admonishing Senator Ensign.  
Nor did the Ethics Committee admonish Senators Dodd and Conrad for allegedly receiving special treatments mortgages from Countrywide Financial Corp. during the subprime mortgage meltdown.   
The list incidents goes on. Watchdog groups such CREW consistently decry corrupt senators and lodge public filings complaint with the Ethics Committee; these complaints, however, have yet translated into concrete disciplinary actions. And yet, when the Senate voted down the creation supplementary Office Public Integrity 2006, multiple Senators insisted that the Committee was doing its job. The then-chairman, Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), archly claimed that the laws and rules are enforced,5 while others argued that office check the committee would waste resources policing already fully-functioning committee. This data suggests otherwise.   
VII. Failed Attempts Senate Accountability Offices: History Defeated Bills 
The desire create office independent the Senate Committee Ethics not new one. The 109th Congress was busy one terms lobbying reform bills introduced both the Senate and the House. Among the many bills introduced was 2259, bill to establish Office Public Integrity the Congress and Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission,6 proposed then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). The bill contains numerous intriguing suggestions regarding Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission, whose membership would appointed the Majority and Minority Leaders the Senate (independently one another), the Speaker and Minority Leader the House (also independently one another), and member chosen some agreement between least three the four. Its function would largely similar the role OCE plays today: would investigate citizen complaints its discretion. the investigation led probable cause ethics violation, the committee would have the power reprimand the violator, well present case the relevant Ethics Committee either the House Senate. The bill unfortunately gained little traction, partially because its proposed Office Public Integrity would entrusted with investigating lobbying disclosure both the Senate and the House, option appealing neither party. Library Congress, S. 2259, February 2006, available http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.2259.IS: 
Meanwhile, another bill did attract more positive attention. Also 2006, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) proposed substitution Senator John McCain (R-AZ)s 2128, Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act. The main thrust the legislation involved tightened restrictions who was allowed lobby Congress and when, well making disclosure rules more transparent. However, one facet the substitution also called for Office Public Integrity. Like Senator Obamas proposal, the Collins-Lieberman amendment would provide independent office advise the Senate and House Ethics Committees; but unlike Senator Obamas Office, this Offices main role would only oversee and enforce the work the Ethics Committees themselves (which how OCE works today). The job finding senators guilty infractions still lay with the Committee alone; the Office Public Integrity would mainly serve galvanize the Committees into action and help them providing investigative assistance.  
Unfortunately, while the substitution was, whole, very successful, passing the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee vote 12-1, one the few amendments the substitution that was made before approval was amendment called, 
ironically enough, the Strengthen Ethics Committee amendment.7 was proposed Senator Voinovich, that point the chairman the Senates Ethics Committee, and struck the provision the bill for the Office Public Integrity. Voinovich thought that the provision was affront the existing Ethics Committees, and claimed that would nothing but waste funds.8 His amendment passed March 2006. Guest Blogger, Summary the Markup the Collins/Lieberman Substitute S.2128, Center for Effective Government (March 2006), available at: http://dev.ombwatch.org/node/2814 Ibid. 
About month later, the Senate whole rejected similar proposal, again put forth Senators Collins and Lieberman, this time joined Senator McCain. Senator Lieberman stated that they had altered the proposal since its failure committee, hopefully make more palatable, but the Senate still voted down 30.  
When, the following year, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act passed Congress, passed without provisions for ethics committee oversight offices. And while former Speaker Pelosis task force led the creation the Office Congressional Ethics the House 2008, date nothing the sort has taken place the Senate. 
VIII. Conclusions and Recommendations: Make Ethics Priority the House and the Senate 

The Office Congressional Ethics small office. has staff nine with operating budget about $1.5 million. But despite its size, OCE has been able achieve tangible victories, and well its way effecting real change. This office one few functional bipartisan entities Washington today, and those who criticize within Congress more out self-interest than out dissatisfaction with its workings. The data from the past six years provides compelling evidence that OCE responsible and effective counterpart the House Committee, and the next step ensuring its continued success change its existence from tenuous rule, subject threats every other year, into something more permanent. The time has come institutionalize OCE enable best continue doing its much-needed work, and timely fashion without the recurring fear being dismantled.  
 
Moreover, given the resounding success have seen coming out OCE, the logical next step would also commit creating similar office the Senate. order both help the Office Congressional ethics best continue enforce accountability the House and encourage the Senate the same, have enclosed number recommendations best strengthen the system. The most significant reforms that should made include: (i) extending independent ethics office the Senate that 
would function similarly OCE but work separately from and only investigate allegations concerning senators; (ii) making the independent ethics office the House matter continuing resolution rather than transitory congressional rules; and (iii) granting the offices genuine investigative authority, most notably through subpoena power. seeking strengthen the congressional independent ethics office, not want risk endangering current House ethics rules that have established the Office Congressional Ethics. merely seek forge more long-lasting, institutionalized place the House for OCE, which has proved itself rewarding partner. far the Senate goes, believe have provided compelling evidence that independent office long overdue the Senate. Protestations the contrary have come predominantly from members the Ethics Committee themselves, who have clearly vested interest leaving their shoddy work unsupervised, and simple consideration the numerous senatorial scandals recent years suffices show the lack rigor the Ethics Committees fulfillment their duties.  
 
The following are specific recommendations for strengthening congressional ethics enforcement.  
 
 Create Office Public Integrity (OPI), via Senate rules, serve independent office that investigates allegations senatorial misconduct and makes recommendations the Senate Ethics Committee. will then remain effect until such time the Senate chooses revisit the rules.  

 
 Include authorizing language for OCE the appropriations bill responsible for its funding, thereby significantly decreasing the risk changing House rules jeopardizing the offices existence.  

 
 Stipulate that both OCE and OPI have board members appointed through mutual agreement. the House, this would mean having appointees the Speaker approved the Minority Leader (and vice versa), and the Senate appointees the Majority Leader approved the Minority Leader (and vice versa). appointment the board permitted occur through partisan selection, OCE and OPI will relegated partisan impotence, has occurred the FEC. 

 
 Grant both agencies subpoena power. Such authority could granted the agencies staff directors and chief counsels or, would make this investigative authority more politically acceptable, subject approval OCE OPIs Board. 

 
 Amend FECA allow the FEC refer matters OCE and OPI. According current FECA laws, the FEC may only refer apparent violations the Attorney General, not any other government agency. USC 437g(a)(5)(c)] 

 
 Specify that OCE and OPI have the authority investigate lobbyists and other outside parties their sworn obligations under Congressional rules (House Rule and Senate Rule 35) and the LD-203 statements under Lobby Disclosure Act potential violations congressional rules.  

 
 Mandate annual reports the House and Senate from OCE and OPI recommending changes, any, House and Senate rules well providing performance statistics the agencies.  

 
 
OCE too valuable agency for keep its existence permanently risk, and the numbers from the Senate Ethics Committee are discouraging enough that think the time has come seriously revisit these options.  
  
Appendix Notes 
Disciplinary actions include formal penalties issued the House Ethics Committee well informal agreements made with the Committee correct misconduct, such reimbursement for improper travel expenses, even with actual finding guilt. 
From 1997 through 2008, prior creation the Office Congressional Ethics (OCE), most matters before the House Ethics Committee were kept confidential, making estimates disciplinary actions difficult ascertain other than through news stories. The OCE period not only supplemented ethics enforcement with the work semi-independent agency, also established unprecedented transparency ethics cases. 
The disciplinary actions documented during the Decade Inaction includes actions against: Reps. Jay Kim (R-Cal.), James Trafficant (D-Ohio), Earl Hillard (D-Ala.), Bob Shuster (R-Pa.), and Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). 
The Abramoff Period includes actions against: Reps. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), Nick Smith (R- Mich.), Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) and Tom Feeney (R-Fla.). 
The OCE Period includes actions against: Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Carolyn Kirkpatrick (D-Mich.), Donna Christensen (D-MD), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Rangel (second finding), congressional staff Dawn Kelly Mobley, Carib News Foundation employees Karl Rodney, Faye Rodney and Patricia Lewis, Reps. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Michael Collins (R-Ga.), Laura Richardson (D-Cal.), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) (no violation found but required reimburse illicit gift), Maxine Waters (D-Cal.) chief staff Mikhail Moore, Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) (the investigation was still ongoing when resigned from office, but investigative subcommittee had been empaneled, and now serving prison time for federal campaign law violations), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), and Don Young (R-AK). 
 
Sources: Public Citizen (2014); and Decade Inaction compiled Common Cause (2006). 
  
Appendix 
Senate Ethics Committee Inactivity 
 
 
Appendix Notes 
The U.S. Senate Select Committee Ethics only began releasing the data regarding reports, investigations, and disciplinary actions taken 2007, which why this where the data the first figure begins. Although have included category the first figure for SSCE Disciplinary Actions (denoted the color red), there were clearly such actions; the category was still included pictorial representation its absence. Data for the second figure, however, comes from information published the Senate website, included their Origins and Development section.  
The list Senators who have been expelled follows: William Blount (R-TN), James Mason (D-VA), Robert Hunter (D-VA), Thomas Clingman (D-NC), Thomas Bragg (D-NC), James Chestnut, Jr. (D-SC), Alfred Nicholson (D-TN), William Sebastian (D-AK), Charles Mitchel (D-AK), John Hemphill (D-TX), Louis Wigfall (D-TX), John Breckinridge (D-KY), Trusten Polk (D-MO), Waldo Johnson (D-MO), and Jesse Bright (D-IN). All these expulsions took place before 1862.  
The censured Senators are: Timothy Pickering (Federalist  MA), Benjamin Tappan (D-OH), Benjamin Tillman (D-SC), John McLaurin (D-SC), Hiram Bingham (R-CT), Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), Thomas Dodd (D-CT), Herman Talmadge (D-GA), and David Durenberger (R-MN).  
Censure, the Senates definition, not the same letter admonition. According the Senates definition, A censure does not remove senator from office. formal statement disapproval, however, that can have powerful psychological effect member and his/her relationships the Senate.9 The last senator receive censure, Senator Durenberger, received his 1990. Expulsion and Censure, United States Senate, available at: http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Expulsion_Censure.htm#censure 
Letters admonition, the other hand, serve relatively mild rebukes from the Ethics Committee: most end with the conclusion that senator acted inappropriately, but the scope the misdeed the senators behavior after the infraction mitigates the incident. The letters have little lasting repercussions. Five public letters admonition have been issued: Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) 2002, Larry Craig (R-ID) 2008, Pete Domenici (R-NM) 2008, Roland Burris (D-IL) 2009 and Tom Coburn (R-OK) 2012.  
Sources: Senate Public Records and Ethics Committee Annual Reports.