Reading this, the phrase "there's someone home but the lights are out" comes to mind. First, the Republicans change the rules so that the Ethics Committee can only open an investigation with a majority. Then, the Republicans start running into problems with some outrageous behavior with one of their own, and the Ethics Committee won't do anything about it -- which gets plastered all over the news. Now, Dennis Hastert claims the Democrats are blocking the committee from meeting not because they oppose the rules change, but because they're avoiding charges on their own people.
That last charge is what has me so disgusted. Hastert clearly has no basis for saying this: if the Democrats want the charges to die in committee, they just have to use the rules Republicans have set up. Instead, the Democrats want to roll back the changes. This would mean a split vote would start an investigation, making it *more* likely that if there's any allegations against Democrats, the charges will become an investigation.
But what really ticks me off is that this is the ETHICS Committee, the one in charge of ethical behavior and, on occasion, correction of unethical behavior. A more cautious approach to ethical breeches would be better, rather than a less cautious approach; so why the changes? Purely a power play on the Republican's side: the Ethics Committee has been pretty scrupulously non-partisan until now, as it should be. The change is either because they can, or because they're protecting Tom Delay. I'd rather it's the latter -- that's at least a lapse in judgment over one person. But I really doubt it.Posted by Ted Stevko at April 22, 2005 10:22 AM | TrackBack