Democracy 21, joined by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (CREW), sent a letter today to Chairwoman Susan Brooks and Ranking Member Ted Deutch on the House Ethics Committee calling on them to conduct a thorough and publicly credible investigation of the serious questions that have been raised about the conduct of Rep. Devin Nunes.

Signers of the letter included: Fred Wertheimer, President, Democracy 21; Ambassador (Ret.) Norman Eisen, Chair, CREW and Chief White House Ethics lawyer, 2009-2011; Richard Painter, Vice Chair, CREW and Chief White House ethics lawyer 2005-2007 and Noah Bookbinder, Executive Director, CREW. 

On April 6, the House Ethics Committee announced it will undertake its own investigation of allegations that Rep. Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, violated Rule 23, cl. 13 of the House Rules by disclosing classified information. 

On March 28, 2017, the watchdog groups called on the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to undertake a preliminary inquiry into whether Rep. Nunes violated House Ethics Rule 23, cl. 13, by disclosing classified information to the public. On April 4, 2017, the groups sent a second letter to OCE providing supplemental information and repeating our request for an inquiry of the matter. 

According to today’s letter: 

The credibility of the House Ethics Committee is at stake in the Nunes ethics investigation. In preempting the OCE, and preventing it from conducting a preliminary inquiry here, as envisioned in the House ethics process, you have assumed full responsibility for properly applying the House ethics rules and for protecting the interests of the American people and of the House.

According to the letter:

The House Ethics Committee has faced serious public credibility problems in the past in dealing with potential ethics violations by Members.

These problems were a major reason that led to the creation of OCE and to the imposition in the OCE process of time frames to conduct inquiries into potential ethics violations and to the requirement that the public be adequately informed about the disposition of possible ethics violations in a timely manner. 

Now that the House Ethics Committee has assumed direct responsibility for the Nunes investigation, rather than allowing the OCE to undertake an inquiry, we call on you to avoid the transparency and accountability problems in the past that have created serious credibility issues for the Committee that you now lead. 

The letter stated: 

It is essential that after conducting a full investigation, the Committee provide for the American people, in a timely and publicly credible manner, its findings, conclusions and the reasons for the conclusions that the Committee reaches.


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