Some politicians miss voters’ message

Last Monday, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives moved to weaken the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. They did so because of complaints — from lawmakers of both parties — that the office had targeted them over relatively inconsequential issues.

Democrats were delighted to complain about the ethics panel plan. It showed Republicans are eager to dismantle mechanisms intended to keep lawmakers honest, they claimed.

President-elect Donald Trump reportedly went to his party’s rescue, urging GOP lawmakers to keep the ethics agency in place, as is. They were wise to follow his advice.

Northern New York’s representative in the House, Elise Stefanik, a Republican from Willsboro, voted Tuesday against dismantling the ethics agency. Her spokesman, however, would not answer a question posed to him by multiple newspapers in her district: How did she vote in the Republican conference Monday? Did she change her mind in response to Mr. Trump, or was she consistent?

That’s important for her constituents to know. It’s disappointing that she refused to answer.

If there was an overriding theme of the Nov. 8 election, it was that many voters don’t trust anyone in Washington. Giving them reason to believe they are right is a serious error.

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