UPDATE -- Jan. 2, 2017 (Reuters) -- U.S. House Republicans Tuesday reversed course and withdrew their proposal to weaken an outside ethics watchdog charged with investigating lawmakers' behavior, House Speaker Paul Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.
The move to abandon the plan comes just hours after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump criticized the move aimed at giving lawmakers greater control over the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Jan. 2, 2017 (Reuters) -- Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives agreed Monday to weaken a nonpartisan ethics watchdog on the grounds it had grown too intrusive, prompting Democrats to charge they were scaling back independent oversight ahead of a new legislative session.
As they returned to Washington following a holiday break, House Republicans voted in a closed-door meeting to place the Office of Congressional Ethics under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, giving lawmakers greater control over an independent body charged with investigating their behavior.
The measure was added to a broader rules package that is expected to pass when the House formally convenes on Tuesday.
The ethics office was created in 2008 following several corruption scandals, but some lawmakers have charged in recent years that it has been too quick to investigate complaints lodged by outside partisan groups.
The body will now have to deliver its reports to lawmakers, rather than releasing them directly to the public, according to a summary released by Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte. It will be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review.