Democrat Dirty Laundry: Pelosi’s Transparently Hypocritical Attempt to Provide Democrats Cover As Investigation Frustrations Mount

June 11, 2010

Pelosi’s Transparently Hypocritical Attempt to Provide Democrats Cover As Investigation Frustrations Mount
Speaker Scrambles to Quash Office of Congressional Ethics After the American People Expose Democrat Ethical Failings

SPIN CYCLE: Pelosi Once Promised to ‘Drain the Swamp’ and Sweep Corruption out of Washington by Changing House Ethics Rules to Create the Office of Congressional Ethics

“Since the Ethics Committee was first created in 1967, the House has set increasingly higher standards of conduct to guide Members because public service is a public trust. As I said, in recent years that trust has been eroded, and we have come here to drain the swamp.”

“Today, the New Direction Congress will, for the first time, open the ethics process up to the participation of our fellow citizens, which will make this institution more accountable to the people who sent us here, the American people. I welcome their assistance.”

“It will bring an additional measure of transparency to the ethics enforcement process. It creates this transparency, I think it is important to note, without compromising the House’s constitutional prerogatives to discipline its Members without interfering with the work of the Ethics Committee and without altering the substantive rules governing the conduct of the committee’s deliberations.” (Pelosi statement, Congressional Record, 3/11/08)

RINSE CYCLE: Dems Attempting to Put the Office of Congressional Ethics Genie Back in the Bottle

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has privately indicated she is willing to rewrite some of the 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.

Pelosi and Clyburn were sympathetic, because the OCE has produced some unintended consequences, according to two sources in the room.

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said, “The Speaker listened to concerns of members and stated that all House rules are reviewed at the beginning of every Congress.”

The House reconsiders its rules for the chamber every two years. Aides and legislators stressed that no decisions have been made on the new rules for the 112th Congress.

Some legislators have complained that when the House ethics committee rejects an OCE recommendation to investigate a member, the OCE findings are sometimes made public and tarnish the lawmaker’s reputation.

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. (Susan Crabtree, “Pelosi considering rewriting ethics rules drafted two years ago,” The Hill, 6/10/2010)

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