On Jan. 2, just a few hours before new members of Congress were set to be sworn in, the House Republican caucus voted to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The outcry was fierce and immediate.

Speaker Paul Ryan. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Critics blasted the secrecy of the move. Watchdog groups on both sides of the aisle expressed their disapproval. Democrats hammered Republicans for reversing themselves on President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to "drain the swamp."

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