Goodlatte amendment brings Roanoke protest

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) This week, 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte found himself at the center of national controversy.

And Wednesday morning, some of his constituents in Roanoke voiced their concerns.

About a dozen people gathered downtown and walked to Goodlatte's office. There they delivered new year's cards, which addressed a variety of issues.

They were reacting to a Goodlatte proposal that would restructure the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Initially approved by the House Republican Caucus Monday night, the amendment was abandoned on Tuesday after widespread criticism.

"Yesterday, I think not just here in Roanoke, but throughout the country people were wondering how can I tell Congress that this is not what I voted for," said Ivonne Wallace Fuentes. "I think most people want government to be clean, representative, clear, transparent and working for us."

"And we need independence to have trust, to have integrity," said Freeda Cathcart, another member of the group. "And it should not be a political issue. Ethics is not a political issue."

Members of the group spoke with Goodlatte's Chief of Staff Pete Larkin.

Goodlatte says the proposal would not weaken ethics oversight in Congress. In a written statement, he said there was "a flurry of misconceptions and unfounded claims about the true purpose of this amendment."

"To be perfectly clear, the OCE has a serious and important role in the House, and my amendment would have done nothing to impede their work or lessen the high ethical standards to which all Members of Congress should be held."