The house Republicans recently tried to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, but due to the outcry of the American people, that plan backfired. But Republicans, being as sneaky as they are, passed a rule under the radar that could enable corruption and discharge members of Congress from any crimes.
The new rule states that “Records created, generated, or received by the congressional office of a Member … are exclusively the personal property of the individual Member … and such Member … has control over such records.”
This means that if a lawmaker is being investigated for misuse of taxpayer funds and law enforcement authorities subpoena their spending records, under this rule, they can assert the privilege to withhold them; they belong to them, not to Congress.
Technically speaking, since the rules for the 115th Congress have already been approved, any member of Congress can spend taxpayer money for whatever they pleased without having to pay the consequences for them.
Let’s take into consideration the care of former Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Illinois). Which according to USAToday “he defrauded the government of more than $100,000 by allegedly falsifying vouchers for reimbursement for personnel travel, and filing false tax returns.”
Schock’s attorneys tried to make an argument that he should be allowed to claim the Fifth Amendment so he wouldn’t have to turn over incriminating documents. In response, persecutors called the defense’s argument “repugnant.”
“They ask this Court to be the first court to recognize that Schock and every other current and future Member of Congress have a Fifth Amendment act-of-production privilege, thereby effectively screening [public or official documents] from public scrutiny. The government respectfully submits that this argument is repugnant to the fundamental principle that no man is above the law and that it should therefore be rejected.”
With the House rules package having been passed last week, the new rule is already in effect.