Office of Congressional Ethics Sees Significant Spike in Public Requests

According to a new report released by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), the office has witnessed a significant spike in outreach from private citizens.

“Over 8,300 private citizens contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics during the second quarter, up from 580 in the first quarter of 2018, according to the OCE’s most recent quarterly report,” writes Roll Call’s Katherine Tully-McManus. “In the last year, citizen contacts had previously topped out at 1,450 per quarter. The contacts fall into two categories: Allegations of misconduct and requests for information about the OCE.”

The numbers represent a 1,400 percent increase in outreach since last quarter and a nearly 600 percent increase compared to last year’s busiest period.

Reportedly, “two referrals were sent to the Ethics Committee for review between April and June 2018 and one was transmitted to the Ethics Committee for dismissal.”

The report does not specify which Congressional offices are associated with the requests, but Roll Call notes several high-profile investigations of Congressmen this year, including now-halted investigations of Rep. Patrick Meehan and Rep. Blake Farenthold, both of whom resigned earlier this year.

The OCE has also announced actions relating to the offices of Rep. John J. Duncan and Rep. David Schweikert.

According to OCE’s second quarter report, the Board of the OCE has commenced preliminary review of 7 matters this quarter, bringing the total to 23 for the 115th Congress. During the same period 15 matters have undergone a second round of reviews, 8 have ultimately been transmitted for review, and 2 have been referred for dismissal.

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