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The lack of ethics in the Ethics Committee

By Frank Salvato
web posted April 25, 2005

It's business as usual in Washington DC, the land where the only thing more confusing than the word "is" is the word "ethics." Yet another political standoff is playing out, this time in the House Ethics Committee. Democrats refuse to convene a hearing citing their "outrage" over rules changes that could protect Republican Congressman Tom DeLay from investigation. But a few facts suggest they could be refusing to meet in order to protect two of their own while allowing their pet 527s to politically damage DeLay as much as possible.

Like the evil flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, liberally slanted 527 organizations like Democracy 21 and Common Cause -- many of whom reap the benefit of George Soros' billions -- are swiping at DeLay as if he were "the scarecrow." It's a good thing "The Hammer" isn't made out of straw.

Tom DeLayThe paradox here is this; Democrats are demanding an investigation into whether or not DeLay accepted trips inappropriately from lobbyists but they refuse to convene a hearing because they say the ethics panel has been stacked with DeLay supporters who would refuse to authorize an investigation. Meanwhile, the liberal leaning 527s -- now dubbed the "left-wing syndicate" -- are in full attack mode spouting exaggerations and half-truths as if they were carved into the stones that secularists are trying so hard to get banned from every corner of the public square.

The Democrats have a pretty good scam going. To analogize, it is a kin to a playground bully beating up another child while a larger bully holds a crowd who wants to stop the fight at bay, all the while lecturing about the ills of fighting on the playground. As long as the Democrats refuse to convene an ethics committee hearing their sympathetic 527 organizations can continue to pummel DeLay.

It's disturbingly brilliant when you think about it. That is until you add a few things to the mix, then, like almost all other tactics employed by the liberal left, their motives become transparent and their true colors start to show.

The only open investigation pending for the House Ethics Committee has to do with Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA). You might remember him as the US Representative who was sympathetic to genocidal maniac and former dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein.

This investigation would look into a 1996 incident where then ethics committee member McDermott leaked illegally obtained recordings of phone conversations between two House members to the New York Times. The Justice Department tried and won their case against those who illegally recorded the conversation but refused to initiate proceedings against McDermott for accepting the recording. Rep. Boehner, one of those taped, filed a civil suit against McDermott and in August of last year the US District Court for DC found that McDermott had indeed participated in an illegal transaction by accepted the recording. McDermott broke the law and thus a mandatory ethics investigation was to take place pursuant to the rules of the House Ethics Committee.

Then there is the matter of whether or not US Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH), who currently sits on the House Ethics Committee, accepted a trip to Puerto Rico from registered lobbyist firm Smith, Dawson & Andrews in violation of House rules. In 2001 Tubbs-Jones included herself in a trip by Democrats to the Puerto Rican island of Vieques designed to protest the island's use by the US Navy as a bombing range. Where all of the other elected officials cited the private group Todo Puerto Rico con Vieques as the financier for the trip, Tubbs-Jones official filing credits Smith, Dawson & Andrews as the one picking up the $8,311 tab. Tubbs-Jones spokeswoman Nicole Williams contends the filing was "in error." Neither she, nor James P. Smith, a managing partner from the lobbyist firm, offered any evidence to prove the filing was in fact an error.

So, while those evil 527 monkeys use the mainstream media as their weapon of choice against Tom DeLay, it would seem that back at the Witch's Castle two "hench-monkeys" are being protected from harm. All the Democrats of the House Ethics Committee have to do to allow "the 527 playground bullies" to continue their assault on Tom DeLay is nothing.

As Dana Carvey's creation the "Church Lady" would say, "How convenient."

Ethics committee Republicans said they would initiate an investigation into the allegations against Tom DeLay if the Democrats would accept the rules change requiring a majority on the panel to approve the initiation of any investigation. This would go a long way to muzzling the political beast and taming bureaucracy when it comes to the House Ethics Committee.

Meanwhile, Tom DeLay has stated time and again that he welcomes an ethics investigation into the allegations brought against him. He believes an investigation would clear him of the charges. Whether or not that is the case remains to be seen but at least he welcomes the investigation. That is more than can be said for McDermott, Tubbs-Jones, those on the committee who protect them and their evil 527 monkeys. They choose to play the "cowardly" game of political obstructionism rather than having the "courage" to do what they know is right.

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant and managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2005 Frank Salvato


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