New Ethics Office Approved By House After Controversial Vote

After a dramatic and controversial vote that included charges that Democrats broke their own rules, the House approved the creation of a new "Office of Congressional Ethics." It marks the biggest change in House ethics rules in more than a decade, and for the first time, will allow non-members to be involved in reviewing the activities of lawmakers and staff.

Republicans, backed by 18 Democrats, thought they had won a parliamentary vote prior to considering of the new ethics office. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic leadership held the vote open for 16 minutes, and in that time, convinced several Democrats to switch their votes. The Democrats who changed their votes were Reps. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), G.K Butterfield (N.C.), Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), and Bart Stupak (Mich.), according to Democratic and GOP members and aides.