Liberals made a considerable ruckus about the supposedly endemic nature of Republican corruption during the election season, and it served them well. Indeed, voters far and wide cited corruption as one of their prime reasons for voting Republicans out of office in November. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that they’d be turning over the reins to a party that is rife with career crooks and run by leaders who suffer their own ethical lapses while demonstrating a complete disregard for the criminal histories of those they would appoint to head congressional committees.
San Fran Nan Pelosi tripped twice coming out the gate as Speaker-elect of the House of Representatives. First, she tried to appoint John Murtha as Majority Leader. Murtha’s well-known status as an unindicted co-conspirator in Abscam forced her to rescind the offer to this key ally. For an encore, she tried to foist Alcee Hastings on her colleagues as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Hastings, before he became a representative, was an unapologetic judge on the take who escaped a bribery conviction but earned the unpleasant distinction of being only the sixth federal judge in American history to be impeached—by a Democrat Congress, no less.
Now it appears that Pelosi is looking for the trifecta. She’s considering West Virginia Rep. Alan Mollohan to head the Appropriations Subcommittee for Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies. This subcommittee oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, currently investigating Mollohan for funneling taxpayer money to nonprofit groups he set up which then, as a quid pro quo, donated money to his campaign. Mollohan’s very presence on the committee gives him leverage over the FBI investigation into his dealings—a conflict of interest, if not a potential obstruction of justice.
Then there’s Louisiana’s William “the Freezer” Jefferson, under investigation for bribery, but handily re-elected in November by a district that clearly doesn’t care about his criminality. Pelosi is considering whether to give him a lesser committee position, but she should really just let him twist in the wind, since she clearly doesn’t have the spine to start impeachment proceedings against him.
What was it Ms. Pelosi was saying about presiding over “the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history”?