Democrat Lawmakers Try To Restrict Ethics Probes
Last Updated: Fri, 06/04/2010 - 10:12am
After being targeted in a series of corruption probes, black congressional leaders have quietly introduced legislation to essentially gut the independent office they helped create to investigate wrongdoing among lawmakers.
Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge introduced the measure to drastically weaken the independent Office of Congressional Ethics that recently determined her top aide improperly helped black caucus members take a lavish
Caribbeantrip funded by corporations. Congress created the citizen-run ethics office in 2008 because the House Ethics Committee is a joke that seldom investigates corruption
But the panel’s inquiries have hit the Congressional Black Caucus hard and nearly half of its members want the vibrant new ethics office to cut back on its aggressive agenda to weed out corruption in the U.S. House of Representatives. Twenty of the 42 members of the all-Democratic caucus support Fudge’s measure, which is also sponsored by Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee of
In its short existence, the ethics office has investigated at least eight black caucus members, including the notoriously crooked Charlie Rangel of
who got booted as chair of the New York House Waysand Means Committee this year. Besides violating House gift rules, Rangel is under investigation for tax evasion, hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets, using his office to raise money from corporations with business before him and illegally accepting multiple rent control apartments in his district. New York
Until the independent ethics office was created, Rangel was practically untouchable because fellow lawmakers on the House Ethics Committee refused to take any action against their beloved colleague. Now his buddies in the Congressional Black Caucus want to severely restrict the powers of the civilian ethics office by making it harder to launch investigations and by keeping probes from the public, among other things
Source: Judicial WatchIn a statement to the
Clevelandnewspaper that broke this story, Fudge claims that she’s simply trying to “perfect” the “processes” of the new ethics panel to ensure that its aims are “achieved in a manner consistent with ’s spirit of justice.” The so-called “processes” must be fair to all people involved, Fudge’s statement goes onto say. Sounds like she just doesn’t want any of her pals to get investigated. America
Here is an additional story on this attempt to re-write the Ethics Rules. If this doesn't scream of an attempt to cover up and protect corruption in the Democratic Party, nothing does. This is from the same woman that said that they were going to be the most "ethical" Congress and that she was going to "drain the swamps".
The Corrupt Pelosi Congress Looks To Water Down Ethics Rules
June 11, 2010
What do you do when too many of the sleazy members of your caucus are getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar? If you're Nancy Pelosi, you try to weaken the ethics rules to keep so many of them from getting busted,
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has privately indicated she is willing to rewrite some of the ethics rules that House Democrats implemented two years ago.
Pelosi late last month met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) about the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which was created to bolster the ethics of the lower chamber.
At the meeting, which was also attended by CBC lawmaker and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), sources said Pelosi heard complaints about the OCE’s new powers and investigation tactics.
....Some CBC members also are questioning why Fudge was allowed to lead the effort after the ethics committee just last year admonished her chief of staff, Dawn Kelly Mobley, for advising members and corporations how to get around new House rules against corporate sponsored-travel while serving as the ethics committee staff director under Tubbs Jones....
...While amending the OCE is being considered, making such changes now would be politically difficult because Republicans are citing Democratic ethics scandals in their effort to retake control of the House.
CBC members and Pelosi discussed a plan to begin a dialogue over the next few months about changing the OCE’s rules following the midterm elections. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), a former prosecutor who was elected in a 2009 special election after the death of then-ethics committee Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), volunteered to lead the effort.
Sources say Fudge was expected to craft proposed changes to the OCE and circulate them among like-minded lawmakers on both sides of aisle. But in a move that has irritated some House Democrats, Fudge quietly introduced the legislation on May 28 with 19 CBC co-sponsors. Days later, government watchdogs and the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times blasted Fudge’s resolution.
How corrupt does our Congress have to be for the Washington Post and New York Times to come down on Democrats for changing the rules? If anything, they should be toughening up the rules in Congress, doing quicker investigations, and doing more to prevent the sleaze that has become the rule there.
There are a lot of things Americans may disagree about, but cracking down on crooks in Congress shouldn't be one of them.
Source: Right Wing News