House Republicans reversed themselves Tuesday, dropping plans to gut an independent ethics office after broad criticism of the move, including from President-elect Donald Trump.
The decision not to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics came after an emergency conference meeting. In a surprise move a day earlier, GOP lawmakers adopted a rules amendment to put the OCE under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee.
The move effectively would have given the lawmakers themselves oversight over investigations into misconduct by lawmakers and staff. It also would have prevented more information from being released to the public.
In a tweet Tuesday, Trump called the ethics watchdog "unfair" to lawmakers but criticized House Republicans for making the move rather than focusing on more important policy. However, he held back any serious criticism of the plan.
Monday's House GOP action sparked immediate outrage, with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi calling ethics "the first casualty of the new Republican Congress." Many other Democrats slammed the move and tied Trump to it, saying that it showed his campaign pledges to rid Washington of corruption were already getting abandoned.