In the weeks leading up to the mid-term elections, Democrats repeatedly railed against the “culture of corruption” supposedly fostered by the Republican leadership.
All that is in the past, however. Once in office, speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi has proposed that John Murtha be elected majority leader and Alcee Hastings be given the chairmanship of the select committee on intelligence.
Good government groups are up in arms. Murtha, they tell us, is one of the most ethically challenged members of Congress. And, he’s got a long pedigree. He was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1970’s Abscam investigation. He’s also accused of using his office to benefit his family and friends. What’s strange about this, however, is that the good government groups apparently didn’t oppose Murtha’s actual election to Congress. Apparently, it’s ok to elect “ethically challenged” Democrats if they help secure the majority, but once in the House, it’s important to keep them in the closet.
As for Hastings, he is described as a “former federal judge.” The word “former” is an understatement. Hastings was actually impeached and spent time in a federal prison for selling his last office. It seems he took bribes from mob figures in exchange for lighter sentences. In 1988, the House voted 431 to 3 to remove him from office, with Nancy Pelosi voting to impeach. Now, it seems, a man who couldn’t be trusted with one office is to be given control over state secrets. One wonders how he could even get a security clearance.
So, there you have it. After months of promising “the most ethical Congress in history,” Nancy Pelosi is going to give us a leadership composed of the most “ethically challenged” member of the House and a disgraced ex-con.
When it comes to ethics, it seems the speaker-to-be is hell-bent on re-defining the word.
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