Political Insider

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Most of Georgia's Republicans decline to discuss private ethics vote

WASHINGTON -- A day after the House GOP backed away from a plan that would have gutted an independent ethics watchdog on Capitol Hill, most Republican members of Georgia's congressional delegation are declining to discuss their private vote on the proposal.

Your Insiders reached out to all 10 Peach State Republicans in the House on Tuesday morning. As of midday Wednesday, we had yet to hear back from half of them.

Two, Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville and Drew Ferguson of West Point, confirmed they voted for the proposal. Both separately argued the initial changes would have strengthened the ethics process in the House.

A spokeswoman for Rick Allen said Wednesday the Evans Republican voted against the proposal even though he supports making changes to the ethics office.

"Like President-elect (Donald) Trump said yesterday, the Congressman agrees they’ve got to get to work and focus on the Republican Agenda," Allen spokeswoman Madison Porter said in an e-mail.

Tom Graves of Ranger and Austin Scott of Tifton declined to disclose how they voted during the GOP's closed-door meeting on Monday.

“My practice is and always has been not to disclose what’s discussed in closed meetings," Graves said. “We’ve all moved off on that and now it’s about taking care of some serious stuff this week, dealing with the resolution with Israel and Doug Collins’ REINS Act.”

Scott said he was happy Republican leaders put a hold on making any changes.

“It’s the first day of a new day in America, if you will. That did not need to consume the time or the energy that it did," he said.

Scott said any future changes to ethics rules should be made with public input and take into account the due process of the lawmakers being accused of misconduct.

"I do think that anybody should have the right to know who’s making an accusation against them if an investigation does open," Scott added.

We have not heard back from the offices of these Georgia lawmakers: Buddy Carter of Pooler; Tom Price of Roswell; Doug Collins of Gainesville; Jody Hice of Monroe; and Barry Loudermilk of Cassville. We'll update this page as we hear back.

Read more: 

Embattled congressional ethics office previously probed Nathan Deal, Paul Broun

Retreat: House GOP reverses plan to gut independent ethics panel

House Republicans vote an end to the Jack Abramoff era – and Trump disapproves

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.