At a circus of a press conference, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) admitted tweeting a photo of his brief-covered crotch to a 21-year old college student, then panicking and lying to cover it up. What ethics rule did Weiner break?
The Golden Rule, for one. He hurt a lot of people, starting with his wife, his loyal Congressional staff, the people who believed in him, and apparently, even Andrew Breitbart, the scurrilous right wing defamer and doctorer of videos.
The nearly universal rule against lying, for another. If we lie to each other society crumbles.
The rule that says do what’s expected of you. The voters who sent Weiner to Congress expected –reasonably—different of him.
In addition to the ethics violations Weiner violated the First Law of Washington Scandal: the cover-up is worse than the crime. In this respect he is forcing his admirers (including me, as of last week) to question his sanity: What in the world was he thinking when he made up those pathetically lame, unbelievable lies. Nobody, no matter their politics, not even Chris Mathews, believed he was telling the truth.
To Weiner’s credit, and there’s not much in this to his credit, he set the standard for apologizing. No “I’m sorry if you thought…” or “I was under the influence of a new allergy prescription,” or “I was trying to protect some innocent people.”
No, his apology was abject and total:
“I have made terrible mistakes that have hurt the people I care about the most and I’m deeply sorry. I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters and the media. “I am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment.”
In response to every shouted question from the frenzied press corps Weiner accepted responsibility and refused to blame anything but his own bad judgment. He even apologized to Andrew Breitbart
While Weiner said he thought he had broken no law or House rule, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for an Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred.