Ethics office is essential

Published 11:06 am Thursday, January 5, 2017

When making their choice in the voting booth, voters choose the individual who they best feel will represent their interests and do the best job. For many, one of the most important factors in making that final choice between two candidates is that regardless of the decision, the person will serve with the highest ethics while in office.

However, this trust was somewhat hindered with several scandals throughout the years that culminated with the need for the creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics in 2008.

The ability to have oversight of the actions of our office-holders was a good step. In life and business, our actions have a certain level of expectation as it relates to our ethical standards; and our elected representatives should be held to the same standards, if not higher.

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Unfortunately, a closed-door vote on Monday by U.S. House Republicans looked to essentially gut those charged with overseeing how our congressional representatives conduct themselves.

We were happy to see that U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, a Republican, who represents the 6th Congressional District in Ohio, which includes Lawrence County, voted against this measure.

While the attempt was retracted on Tuesday, it is unfortunate that it took the clamor of constituents, media and other groups.

The ability to have a nonpartisan group who seeks to ensure our representatives act ethically and maintain the needed level of transparency between the government and residents is critical.