Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Friday, December 08, 2006

One last lump of coal

Doc Hastings' do nothing committee in the do nothing Congress will do nothing about the Mark Foley scandal.
Republican leaders did not break any rules in handling reports of ex-Rep. Mark Foley's improper advances to former male pages but they did not take adequate steps to protect the teenagers, the House ethics committee concluded in a report issued this afternoon.

"No matter how busy we are, we must always resolve first things first," committee chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said this afternoon. He said the panel "intended to let the report speak for itself."
Translation: we lost the election, but we are going to cover for each other one last time, because we are lumps of coal.

A fitting end to the Worst Congress Ever. When the noise machine kicks in about Democrats doing crazy, corrupt things like buying houses to live in, we need to remind people of this. The GOP did nothing to stop Mark Foley from preying on young people, and they still won't take responsibility for their actions.

It's an amazing spectacle to watch, surely one of the greatest political disasters in Congressional history, and the GOP response is 500 pounds of paper and nothing else. Incredible. No wonder they can't run a war, they can't even run Congress.

And oh yes, the fact that the ethics committee is "bi-partisan" proves nothing. Hastings was put on that committee to make it inoperable, and that seems to be the only thing Hastings is good at. Too bad for the folks who live in WA-04, they deserve better.

MORE-- CREW, the ethics watchdog group, says the ethics committee is ignoring that a rule was broken in the Foley scandal.
In fact, Rule XXIII of the House Ethics Manual requires all members of the House to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.” This ethics standard is considered to be “the most comprehensive provision of the code.”

When this section was first adopted, the Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the 90th Congress noted that it was included within the Code to deal with “flagrant” violations of the law that reflect on “Congress as a whole,” and that might otherwise go unpunished.

This rule has been relied on by the Ethics Committee in numerous prior cases in which the Committee found unethical conduct including: engaging in sexual relationships with congressional pages as well as the failure to report campaign contributions, making false statements to the Committee, criminal convictions for bribery, or accepting illegal gratuities, and accepting gifts from persons with interest in legislation in violation of the then gift rule.
Ok, it's a pretty broad rule. But remember, these are House rules, not statutes used for criminal prosecution. The standard is ethical behavior, not criminality.

Remember when the Foley scandal broke, and suddenly every Republican was an expert on Gerry Studds?

It's not clear to me what rule was used to censure Studds and Republican Daniel Crane, but if it involved Rule XXIII the GOP has some 'splanin' to do.

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