“A House rules change you didn’t hear much about — and prosecutors won’t like”

Open Secrets:

The Office of Congressional Ethics was saved from the landfill  — where House Republicans had tried to bury it — by public outcry and a couple of tweets from President-elect Donald Trump.

But few noticed a sentence that did make it into the package of House rules changes passed Tuesday, making it more difficult to access documents having to do with the operations of a lawmaker’s office.

“Records created, generated, or received by the congressional office of a Member … are exclusively the personal property of the individual Member [emphasis added]… and such Member … has control over such records.”

Who cares whether a congressional office’s budget documents, maintained at taxpayer expense, belong to each individual member, rather than Congress as a body?

Maybe the Justice Department, for one. In investigating allegations of public corruption or misuse of funds, criminal investigators frequently need to subpoena such records.

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