House Republicans retreat on ethics rules changes Bernard Hibbitts at 11:39 AM ET
[JURIST] Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert said Wednesday that Republicans were prepared to reverse course on controversial changes to House ethics rules that had raised Democratic ire and had led to deadlock in the House Ethics Committee [official website], preventing it from getting down to business this term. The most problematic change involved altering committee procedures so that an ethics complaint would automatically be dismissed unless a majority of the panel voted to act on it within 45 days; formerly, an ethics complaint would automatically trigger an investigation unless the panel voted to dismiss it in the same time-period. Democrats accused Republicans of making this and other changes to shield House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [official website] from ethics probes; in 2004 the committee cited DeLay three times for ethics infractions [October 2004 complaint report]. Hastert suggested that without a functioning Ethics Committee freed from deadlock DeLay could not appear to clear his name. AP has more.
8:44 PM ET - AP is reporting that the House has voted to reverse the rule changes.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.