?

Log in

Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Taking a Bullet [Jan. 10th, 2005|10:54 pm]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

a_humanist
Some Republican member of the House of Representatives last week said that Tom DeLay took a bullet for the Party.

First, House Republicans circle around DeLay and rescind a rule that would force him to resign his leadership post if indicted. The justification is that DeLay is in the crosshairs of a politically vindictive, Democratic, Travis County Texas district attorney, and he needs to be protected from being railroaded.

Next, after public outrage and at the request of Maj. Leader DeLay, the rule is reinstated. DeLay is congratulated for his political courage.

What the Republicans did was first show their ignorance for the justice system. In Texas, and I'm sure in most other localities in the US, district attorneys do not issue indictments, grand juries issue indictments, after hearing testimony from investigators on whether a case should be prosecuted. It is in reality a safeguard against the kind of vindictive prosecution of which District Attorney Ronnie Earl is being accused. If an indictment is handed down it is not because Ronnie Earl wanted it.

Second, the Republicans showed us that they have a warped sense of honor. If tom DeLay had any political courage, he would resign his position as Majority Leader. That would be taking a bullet.
link2 comments|post comment

Tom DeLay Loves Children [Jan. 9th, 2005|12:17 am]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

a_humanist
While looking on the Web for material for today's blog entry I found an article on www.majorityleader.gov. It was from September 2004 and Tom DeLay offered remarks at the opening of the renovated Family court building in D.C. No one can disagree with Tom DeLay or anyone speaking of children in such general terms, but the statements are a thin cover for Tom DeLay trying to use children for political advantage at the 2004 Republican Convention in New York.

Consider a charity called Celebrations for Children. Such an innocuously named charity could only serve impoverished children in this and other countries, right? One of the managers of this charity is the daughter of Tom DeLay, so there's the "Children" part of the title. It is true that a large portion of the contributions were funneled to children's charities. But according to National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy some of the money given to this charity was used "to pay for fundraising events to reelect President Bush"; there's the "Celebrations."

Here's how it works. Fat cat donor wants to talk to Tom DeLay. He contributes money to Celebrations for Children and he gets his ticket. Celebrations gives money to children's charities, and then holds a big shindig to raise even more money that goes to the reelection of President Bush and presumably other Republicans. But wait, Celebrations for Children had applied to be a not-for-profit organization. Remember I said that they were a charity. Now the money given to them can be tax-deductible. You help, Tom DeLay, his daughter, President Bush, Republican Fat Cats, take a write-off on your taxes, and it doesn't even look like a soft-money contribution.

Tom DeLay, shame on you!
linkpost comment

Keep the Lights on, Keep the Roaches Away [Jan. 6th, 2005|10:11 pm]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

a_humanist
Talk on Capitol Hill still seems to be about Joel Hefley, and whether or not he will be replaced. On NPR this morning, he said that the leadership will replace him as chair of the Ethics Committee. It would say a lot about the character of the House Republican leadership if they fire Hefley. No matter what the decision is, it will bring more attention to the larger issue of Tom DeLay's ethical dalliances.
linkpost comment

Judge For Yourself [Jan. 5th, 2005|09:58 pm]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

a_humanist
Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), chair of the House Republican Conference wrote this opinion piece in the USA Today, that I found via Yahoo! She is justifying the House ethics rule requiring a full majority vote of the ten-member House Ethics Committee (5 Republican, 5 Democrat), where the old rule started the investigation with only five votes.

I think it is self-serving of her to write this. What she leaves out: though it does now keep one party from unfairly ordering an investigation by tying the vote in the ethics committee, it gives one party too much power to block an investigation. In fact, in the past few years the ethics committee has done nothing. No, I don't mean nothing about investigating complaints, I mean they have done nothing. The process that she says was improved will further deter members from bothering to submit complaints, because they know nothing will happen with the complaint now.

It is fair to hold elected officials to a higher standard because they claim it in order to get elected in the first place. Lo and beware the cry of due process and presumption of innocence when someone really probes into the ethics of their leader.
linkpost comment

Sanity Almost [Jan. 4th, 2005|11:02 pm]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

a_humanist
The post from earlier this morning mentioned how decent Tom DeLay was to ask the tougher rule on indictments and Republican leadership be reinstated. But what wasn't mentioned was that the House will adopt a new rule on how the Ethics committee will order an investigation.

The Ethics committee has five Democrats and five Republicans as members. Investigations are instigated on a majority vote of the committee, or in case of a tie vote an investigation will also be undertaken. The tie-vote rule was changed today along a strict party line vote . Tie votes will mean the end of an ethics complaint.

Also, the House Speaker still has not decided on whether Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) will retain the chair of the House Ethics committee. There's nothing like leaving someone in limbo for while to help get them back in line.
linkpost comment

A Rare Display Of Sanity [Jan. 4th, 2005|10:55 pm]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

a_humanist
House Republicans today reversed a rule change and will now again require that House Republican leaders and committee chairs to step down from their leadership posts once indicted.

Most of the republican complaining say that the tougher rule means that the indicted leader is guilty until proven innocent. In my opinion, not exactly. It is not a new idea to hold elected officials to a higher ethical standard. In fact the tougher rule wasn't even adopted by the party until 1994, when the Republicans took control of the House. It seems avoiding the very appearance of impropriety was important to Newt Gingrich in those days.

One of the funniestest quotes about the rules meeting comes from Rep. Zach Wamp, R, Tenn, as quoted in the Houston Chronicle:""I feel like we have all taken a shower and now we can all go to war." I'm still trying to figure that one out.
linkpost comment

Behavior Doesn't Match The Rules. . . [Jan. 4th, 2005|10:49 pm]
Clean The House: Government Ethics Watch

a_humanist
[originally posted 12/30/04 on cleanthehouse.blogspot.com]

It seems that the Republicans in the US House of Representatives don't like feeling embarrassed about Tom DeLay's questionable ethics. So instead of getting Mr. DeLay to change his behavior, they are changing the rules and the umpire.

A couple of months we heard about Republicans changing their conference rules to allow indicted leaders to retain their leadership positions. I thought at first that was bad enough. But now we hear that the House Ethics Committee chairman might be replaced when the House convenes next week, while at the same time making it harder to bring ethics cases before the committee. All this because Hefley slapped DeLay's three times last year because of ethics violations. Hardly a death sentence. The Seattle Times and other papers also report that the replacement could be a good buddy of DeLay, Congressman Lamar Smith (R - TX):
[A]ides said a likely replacement is Rep. Lamar Smith, one of DeLay's fellow Texans, who held the job from 1999 to 2001. Smith wrote a check this year to DeLay's defense fund. An aide said Smith was favored for his knowledge of committee procedure. [Italics added]
linkpost comment

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]