Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ethics: In A Heart Beat

With this week's passage of HR 895, creating an independent ethics panel to monitor the actions of House members down in Washington, reformers were given a bittersweet victory and partisans were given soundbite fodder.

Representative Scott Garrett voted against the bill and gave Herb Jackson of the Record this soundbite:
"I agree our current system is broken," Garrett said. "Unfortunately, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi failed to bring a bi-partisan solution to the table and chose to put forward a Commission that does not solve the current problems. Instead, it would allow anonymous partisan complaints to clog the system and lead to increased mud-slinging."
The reason this new Ethics panel became a necessity is because of the gentleman's agreement put in place about not bringing charges, for fear that they could lead to partisan attack. This effectively led to the old panel being shut down while Representatives Tom DeLay, Randall "Duke" Cunningham, Don Young and William Jefferson taking graft and corruption to a new level.

In an effort to have a bi-partisan jury of sorts, both the Speaker and Minority Leader must concur on the panel members. Unfortunately, Rep. John Boehner has a bit of a cynical view of the prospects for the committee, as relayed to The Washington Times.
"I can't imagine anyone in their right mind would want to serve on this outside panel because of the fighting that's going to occur, not by members but by partisan groups on both sides who are going to want to file frivolous complaints."
I'd do it in a heartbeat, and there are likely a ton of other good government minded individuals who would agree to serve their Country in this capacity if asked. I really hope Boehner won't sabotage this entire process because of cynicism.

It should be interesting to see how this pans out, but one has to hope we're going to head in the right direction in terms of ethics.

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