For those watching to see how Rep. John Rutherford will function in Congress, the Jacksonville freshman congressman may have passed his first test.
Rutherford opposed Monday’s move by House Republicans to eviscerate the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.
That move has already been reversed, vindicating Rutherford’s position.
Rutherford committed to working across the aisle during a primary campaign full of pitched partisan rhetoric, and maintained that position through the November election.
And that commitment to bipartisan solutions animated his opposition to the offensive against OCE, as Rutherford believed that any reform should be a bipartisan effort of the House Ethics Committee.
Rutherford wasn’t the only Florida Republican opposed to the move; as Mitch Perry reported, Rep. Dennis Ross likewise opposed the move … one that was questioned by President-elect Donald Trump on Twitter Tuesday morning.
Florida Democrats urged Republicans to stand and be counted regarding their position on this matter.
“Floridians deserve to know which of their Republican members of Congress voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics last night,” said spokesman Max Steele. “If they would like to offer any justification whatsoever for why they feel there should be no ethics oversight for members of Congress, we’re all ears. After turning a blind eye to Trump’s historic corruption and conflicts of interest, it’s no wonder Republicans want a piece of the action.”
While some Florida Republicans did vote to “gut” the office, Rutherford was not one of them.
As Matt Dixon noted on Twitter, OCE oversight factored into Florida politics very recently, with high-profile inquiries from the office into the affairs of Democrats Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown.
For now, at least, the OCE appears safe from “reform.”