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Ethics woes plague both sides of the aisle
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, May 15, 2007

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner faces an ethic dilemma:
When Reps. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) and Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) became the subjects of FBI raids, Boehner pushed them to give up their committee assignments. But party operatives said Doolittle and Renzi are not facing pressure to resign from the House for now — in part because the House GOP campaign committee does not want the expense of competing to keep their seats in a special election.

And Boehner is coming under fire from his own members over the decision to replace Doolittle on the House Appropriations Committee with Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.). Calvert himself is facing ethics scrutiny over a land deal in his Southern California district.

The Calvert decision underscores the complexity of Boehner's task, as he tries simultaneously to clean house and keep peace within his own caucus. The California delegation was insistent that the coveted Appropriations seat go to one of their own, following long-standing custom. But the move has upset other GOP members and some conservative bloggers, who fear that Calvert's alleged problems will feed the party's reputation for corruption.
"Fear" it will feed the party's reputation for corruption? It's a slam dunk, to quote George Tenet, that it will feed that reputation. This sort of ethical problem isn't something you can take a pass on occasionally because it politically expedient to do so or you don't want the "expense of competing" to keep their seats. So in reality, this shouldn't be a dilemma at all, should it? In fact, it is an opportunity to exercise leadership commensurate with the title "House Minority Leader" isn't it? Rep. Boehner you wanted the job, so now do it.

On the other side of the aisle, however, not much changes. William Jefferson is still in Congress and Senator Feinstein still avoids any inquiry into her chairmanship of a Senate committee that funneled a billion dollars to her husband's companies. And then there's Harry Reid's land deals. The "Ken Calvert" of the Senate simply ignores the ethics questions about his dealings as do his Democratic colleagues in the Senate.

If anything, the "culture of corruption" appears to be contagious. On the Republican side, there at least seems to be an inclination to do the right thing. Whether they follow through or not is another matter altogether. The Dems, however, seem content to pretend it doesn't exist on their side.
 
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Here’s what bothers me most about this whole set of tawdry affairs: It’s become crystal clear that these people do not believe they are doing anything wrong. Their entire focus is on appearances. Does it look bad? Well, hide it or deemphasize it or something.

They obviously don’t want to punish anyone at their own level. The only motivation I can see for that is that they believe that it’s not really wrong, and if they punished or prevented such activities, then they themselves would be unable to indulge.

Corruption in Congress is nothing new. But in the past, there were at least enough members with shame to condemn those that got caught red-handed. Now those such as Jefferson are left to just float right along, with no consequences from Congress at all. He may go to jail some day, but Congress won’t punish him until it’s merely symbolic. That is, once a court convicts him, you’ll see wailing and gnashing of teeth over his behavior when it doesn’t really make any difference.

The job of being in Congress has outgrown it’s specifications, and the result is that the typical Congressperson can’t prevent it going to their heads. They emotionally believe themselves to be special and above the rules others have to obey. That attitude slides naturally into corruption, because once you don’t think the rules apply to you, you no longer have any external guide to your behavior.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"If anything, the "culture of corruption" appears to be contagious. On the Republican side, there at least seems to be an inclination to do the right thing. Whether they follow through or not is another matter altogether. The Dems, however, seem content to pretend it doesn’t exist on their side."

Of course it is contagious. Just one more rationale to always vote for divided government. At least it offers some hope (and this congress offers some limited evidence) of greater oversight through the mechanism of partisan policing of corruption on both sides of the aisle. Best would be if could split Congress also, with the Republicans in control of the Senate. Can’t happen before the 2010 election thought.
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/
If anything, the "culture of corruption" appears to be contagious. On the Republican side, there at least seems to be an inclination to do the right thing. Whether they follow through or not is another matter altogether. The Dems, however, seem content to pretend it doesn’t exist on their side.
I suspect that the Republican "inclination" to do the right thing arises from the certainty that any GOP ethical lapse will be heavily covered in the MSM. Unfortunately, as the DiFi scandal proves, the Dems do not face that particular incentive to do the right thing.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I’m curious what you think Harry Reid did that was "corrupt." As a business lawyer, I see these types of transactions all the time. Buy land, contribute to LLC, sell land, distribute proceeds. In all the coverage I’ve seen of this deal, other than the failure to report the transfer to the LLC, I haven’t seen anything that smelled bad. Is there some allegation that he got a favor in the rezone process? Given that it’s Vegas, I doubt it. This doesn’t smell any worse than Denny Hastert’s freeway exchange deal (which I don’t think was a big deal either).
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
I’m curious what you think Harry Reid did that was "corrupt." As a business lawyer, I see these types of transactions all the time.
Have you checked out his bridge to the next state and, amazingly, who’s formerly worthless land sits right next to where the bridge will be built?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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