Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio resolved this morning that the way Democrats passed the ethics bill last night was unethical. This afternoon he resolved that the House should investigate Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.) for unethical behavior. In between those privileged resolutions, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) resolved, using a “point of personal privilege,” that it was wrong for Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio) to challenge his ethics. And all before the newly approved Office of Congressional Ethics has even had its ribbon cut.
The chairwoman of the House Ethics Committee, Tubbs Jones had been offended by Hastings release of e-mails between Ethics Committee staffers without her permission. In a letter, she said that she was “disappointed” with the ranking member of the committee “would violate…confidentiality rules.”
Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.)--long known as a voice of moderation-- took equal offense to Tubbs Jones.
“You know, there's a saying where I come from, once you tar and feather someone, you can never get the tar off. What happened here with disclosure of this letter made public in Doc's district is that he will always have a little bit of this tar on him that somehow he might have violated the rules. That's wrong, folks. What good is it for us to trash one another?” he asked.
Tubbs Jones tried to interject. “Will the gentleman yield?”
The gentleman wouldn’t.
“I don’t have the time, ma'am,” LaHood said. “But I’ll tell you this -- I believe that the chairwoman of the Ethics Committee owes Doc Hastings an apology for trying to besmirch and impugn his integrity and his honesty and his service on the Ethics Committee and in the House of Representatives. Now, you know, if the chairwoman, Mr. Speaker, would be willing to do that, it might get on page 40 of his local newspaper. It won't be on page one, the way the headlines read today,” he went on.
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