Posts Tagged ‘House Ethics Committee’

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington considers Anthony Weiner OK: We see lying politicians all the time

June 9, 2011

If you’re a Democrat and you want an ethics pass, go see Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Today she discussed the Anthony Weiner mess with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. Her analysis:

“It’s hard to see what the [House] Ethics Committee would hang its hat on here to say that this conduct would violate the ethics rules. Others have said maybe it’s the lying. What! So no politician has ever lied to us before? That’s the kind of thing we see all the time. So he did behave discreditably (!!) but I don’t think it’s enough for a full fledged ethics censure. David Vitter is still there.”

I wonder what kind of behavior Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington would consider irresponsible or unethical.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) admits all, apologizes to everybody, including Andrew Breitbart

June 6, 2011

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 (more…)

Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is a tax cheat, an extortionist, and probably a bribe-taker. But so are a lot of people. Why am I so disturbed with Rangel?

July 30, 2010

With all the criminality in public life, why am I so disturbed with Charlie Rangel? Jack Marshall put his metaphorical finger on it in his EthicsAlarm blog: Rangel is an ethics corrupter. Marshall defines it this way:

“An ethics corrupter is a public figure of high accomplishment, a hero who encourages his admirers and followers to allow the hero’s achievements to excuse his flawed character and values…The ethics corrupter…weakens the public’s resistance to corruption and misconduct, and encourages a culture of privilege in which an individual is allowed to break the law and rules in direct proportion to his or her perceived value to society.”

As I’m disgusted by Rangel’s conduct, I’m alarmed by the people defending it. The only hopeful sign is that the House ethics committee, comprising four Democrats and four Republicans, brought charges against Rangel, and will try him on these charges, with the possible penalty upon conviction ranging from admonition to expulsion from the House of Representatives.

If Rangel had the tiniest sense of public responsibility or honor he would resign. But he doesn’t and he won’t. He’ll probably cost the Democrats control of the House in the coming election but he doesn’t care. And if they let him, neither should we.

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Churchill, Pelosi, and doing the right thing

March 2, 2010

Winston Churchill said that Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else. He could have been anticipating Nancy Pelosi. She tried to defend her pal, sleazy New York congressman Charlie Rangel, even after the House Ethics Committee found him guilty of violating House rules by accepting a corporate gift of a Caribbean junket. And more bad news to come from the committee.

But protests from shocked (!) Republicans and panicky Dems have led Pelosi to do the right thing. She informed Rangel today that he’s got to step down–probably Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News.

Read The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World