Some Real Good Ethicizin’, There

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Buried in this odd story about Rep. Charlie Rangel filing an ethics complaint against himself comes this graph:

The last member to file an official ethics complaint was former Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas), who in 2004 accused then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) of bribery, laundering illegal corporate political donations and illegally using his congressional office to ask the Federal Aviation Administration for the location of Texas Democratic legislators who were absent from a session to protest a GOP redistricting plan DeLay spearheaded.

There hasn’t been an ethics complaint since 2004? After Don Young, Duke Cunningham, William Jefferson, & co., I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that the House’s system of enforcing ethics isn’t working all that well.

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7 Responses to “Some Real Good Ethicizin’, There”

  1. #1 |  Mike H | 

    Obviously the “honor among thieves” mentality has proven a far more workable (and profitable) system of ethics for powerbrokers in Washington.

  2. #2 |  dad29 | 

    It’s not “enforcing” ethics.

    It’s the fact that House members HAVE no ethics to enforce.

  3. #3 |  Ben | 

    I think it’s more about mutually assured destruction than honor among thieves.

  4. #4 |  Edintally | 

    This may be a bit off topic, but ethics, or a lack thereof, made me think of Bush. I think Bush’s legacy will be that he finally showed the weakness within the system i.e. if everyone collectively decided to work within a perceived system, the checks and balances worked (ethics). Bush showed everyone that if you just ignore all the customs, norms, and practices, you are free to do as you please without fear from either of the other two branches of government (unethical).

    Now I’m not arguing there hasn’t been any of this in the past. I’m sure we could come up with plenty of examples. I’m speaking of the blatant nature of his disregard along with the number of times he did it. meh just some rambling thoughts (no sleep last night) :)

  5. #5 |  Kit Smith | 

    Yeah, 2004 sounds about right unfortunately. Ben hit the nail on the head with the mutually assured destruction, especially with how highly politicized everything was within the house during the era of DeLay. You file a complaint against someone on our team, we’ll file a complaint against someone on your team.

    Combine that with the fact that the ethics committee is often stacked with less than squeaky clean members who have a penchant for doing the bidding of their party leaders. You think these guys would be willing to go against their party to clean house? They might as well just ask to lose all of their influence with their peers while gaining little to nothing in return.

    I can’t tell whether the Democrats don’t care about fighting corruption or are just not competent enough to organize investigations.

  6. #6 |  jwh | 

    ……which all adds up to this year NOT being a slam dunk for dems……no matter what they think.

  7. #7 |  No Straw Men : links for 2008-07-26 | 

    [...] Some Real Good Ethicizin’, There – Radley Balko, The Agitator There hasn’t been an ethics complaint since 2004? After Don Young, Duke Cunningham, William Jefferson, & co., I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that the House’s system of enforcing ethics isn’t working all that well. (tags: Congressional_Ethics) [...]

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