December 31, 2006
With just a few days remaining before the seating of the 110th Congress, incoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D. Ca.) has promised she "intends to lead the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history.”
In today’s Democrat Weekly Radio Response to President Bush’s Weekly Radio Address, incoming Congressman Jerry McNerney (D. Ca.) states in part, “House Democrats will restore integrity and civility in Washington in order to earn the public trust.”
The recent campaign that narrowly returned Democrats to power in Washington D.C. was based largely on the Democrat Party’s proclivity to maximize the Republican Party’s scandals and corruption, while minimizing their own. Incoming Speaker of the House Pelosi has stated she will ”drain the swamp” after a decade of Republican rule.
From where I sit, these words sound as hollow as any I have ever heard from any Politician, regardless of which party they belong to.
Republicans abandoned the conservative base that swept them to power in 1994 and too many took liberties that weren’t ethical, or even legal. Some were even railroaded to disgrace them and remove them from powerful seats. Democrats took full advantage of their shortcomings and their willing accomplices in the lamestream media spared no effort in splashing reports, even if biased, everywhere.
But, what of incoming Democrats? Can we really expect a “squeaky clean” Democrat Congress? Can we expect the “most ethical Congress in history?” I doubt it!
From the Hill, we read about Rep. John Conyers (D. Mich), who has vowed to initiate impeachment hearings against President Bush, has accepted responsibility possibly violating House rules. Possibly? After three years investigating charges of his requiring official staffers to work on campaigns, babysit his children, and run personal errands, prompting him to hire Stanley Brand, a defense lawyer with a long track record of defending public officials implicated in corruption cases? And, all he has to do is say “I accept responsibility?” That closes the matter and this is “ethical?”
Representative William Jefferson (D. La.) is caught on tape accepting $100,000 in bribes, with some $90,000 of it subsequently found in his freezer. Is he asked to resign or taken to task by the incoming “most ethical Congress?” He was only reluctantly removed from a powerful seat on the House Ways and Means Committee in the 109th Congress, mostly from pressure applied by the public and Republicans. Committee assignments in the upcoming Congress remain to be seen.
We have Representative Alcee Hastings (D. Fl), impeached ex-federal judge who was Speaker in Waiting Pelosi’s choice for House Select Committee on Intelligence chairman over Rep Jane Harman (D. Ca), who has sat on the committee for the past 8 years.
Pelosi endorsed and campaigned for Rep. John Murtha (D. Pa.) for the powerful Majority Leader position. Murtha is an un-indicted co-conspirator from the Abscam scandal of the 1980s. Other Democrats chose Rep. Steny Hoyer (D. Md) instead. Recent revelations on Murtha expose a charity, The Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities, where lobbyists who serve as directors on the nonprofit group's board have served as "intermediaries" between Murtha, his aides and the defense contractors and businessmen on the board. Murtha says “it is not political.”
We have returning Rep. James McDermott (D Wa) who has been investigated for giving reporters access to an illegally taped telephone call involving Republican leaders and is facing litigation for this action. Of course, it wasn’t unethical.
We have Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), under Federal Investigation for blending his commercial investments with his duties as a Congressional Appropriator, acknowledged ... that he misstated more than a dozen transactions on his financial disclosure forms. Will he too receive a pass by simply stating, “I accept responsibility?”
In November of 1995, Pelosi voted against a provision "to prohibit registered lobbyists from giving gifts to members, officers, or employees of the House and Senate," and was joined by the number-two Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer. Pelosi also has accepted many awards from unions for her pro-union stance in the House, yet she and her husband own a vineyard and interest in restaurants that do not hire union employees nor sell grapes to union wineries.
Democrats made a big fuss over the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, yet with nearly 100 Democrats in the House and Senate also accepting money of $1,000 or more from him, they became strangely silent.
There is also Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D. RI.) who, after crashing his car for the second time in three weeks, didn’t even receive a sobriety test, but was escorted home and subsequently admitted himself to the Kennedy Wing of the Mayo Clinic for drug abuse. How many votes were or will be delivered with him under the influence?
As you can see, Republicans are far from the only in Congress that suffer from ethics problems. Tom DeLay resigned over charges that have yet to be proven or brought to trial. Rep. Foley was forced out over charges of his inappropriate contacts with younger males, yet no laws were broken. There is even evidence and speculation that House Democrats knew of his disgraceful conduct and covered it up until shortly before the 2006 elections to ensure maximum effect in defeating Republicans. How ethical is that?
Charging Republicans with “Culture of Corruption” worked and they have been narrowly returned to power. It remains to be seen if they will return to their own unethical behavior and their own corruption. Based upon how they have turned a blind eye to the Democrats I have listed, I expect more of the same as we have always seen.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
December 31, 2006
Posted by Lew Waters at 1:03 AM