Mmm, mmm, mmm. The culture of corruption.
Readers of this blog will recall that I pointed out some of the incestuous ties on the House Ethics committee that muddied the Waters case last June:
The House Ethics Committee suffers from dysfunction by design. It is chronically understaffed and underfunded. The panel most recently went without a staff director for four months. Its investigative backlog was compounded by the partisan-charged suspension of two staff attorneys last fall who were knee-deep in the Waters’ probe. And the panel’s ranking Democratic member, California Rep. Linda Sanchez, is bogged down with her own ethical conflicts of interest.
Sanchez’s chief of staff, Adam Brand, is the son of the lawyer handling Waters’ ethics defense. That lawyer, Stan Brand, also represented Sanchez and her sister, Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, in a separate ethics case. The sisters engaged in smelly hiring shenanigans after an aide to Loretta embezzled money from the office account in 2006. Short of funds, Loretta “borrowed” three aides from Linda’s staff. House rules ban members from paying people to do work in offices other than their own. Miraculously, Loretta’s embezzling aide avoided jail time, and the Sanchez sisters escaped any sanctions for their payroll-sharing collusion. The House ethics opinion on the matter remains confidential.
Intended to boost voters’ confidence in Congress (now at an all-time low), the committee’s stubborn secrecy and predictable wrist-slap punishments (see “Rangel, Charlie”) only make matters worse. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: House-soilers can’t be cleaners. Voters, not Washington politicians, are the ultimate ethics committee.
Now, the Friday news dump brings us word that an unprecedented SIX House members have recused themselves from the case after nearly two years of doing nothing:
The House Ethics Committee announced today that six committee members have voluntary recused themselves from the matter involving Rep. Maxine Waters and that six alternates have been appointed to hear the California Democrat’s case.
The announcement, which was delivered as a letter from Ethics Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and read on the House floor, comes on the heels of an independent attorney’s six-month probe into whether the actions of current and former ethics panel members and staffers botched the Waters investigation by violating her due process rights.
The committee made no further statement about the status of the Waters probe or when it will continue.
…“Outside counsel has discovered no evidence indicating bias or partiality on the part of former Members or requiring the exclusion of any former Members of the Committee from serving as substitute Members. However, out of an abundance of caution and for the same reasons as the current Members volunteering their recusal, [outside counsel] Mr. [Billy] Martin has recommended that no Member who served in the 111th Congress should serve as a substitute Member in this matter,” the letter said.
Martin told the committee that he reviewed “tens of thousands of pages” of documents and interviewed current and former committee members and staffers, but one necessary witness who is not currently with the committee refused to testify when subpoenaed and it has prevented the completion of the due process review.
Foxes + Henhouse = one big smile on corruptocrat Maxine Waters’ face.
April 27, 2011 – Maxine Waters, Swamp Queen
November 19, 2010 – Culture of corruption: Maxine Waters ethic trial delayed
August 13, 2010 – The Mad Maxine Waters show; Update: “I won’t cut a deal”
August 4, 2010 – Mad Maxine’s minority fat-cat bankers
August 3, 2010 – Maxine, Barney, Fannie, Freddie & TARP Hanky-Panky
March 13, 2009 – Congresswoman Bank of OneUnited responds