February 23, 2008

A Tale Of Two Caucuses

Two House caucuses, two members under indictment -- and both give two very different responses. John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, publicly demanded Rick Renzi's resignation from the House after his indictment on 35 charges of fraud, extortion, and other sundry corruption:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is urging indicted Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) to resign.

“I have made it clear that I will hold our members to the highest standards of ethical conduct,” Boehner said in a statement Friday. “The charges contained in this indictment are completely unacceptable for a member of Congress, and I strongly urge Rep. Renzi to seriously consider whether he can continue to effectively represent his constituents under these circumstances. I expect to meet with Rep. Renzi at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss this situation and the best option for his constituents, our Conference, and the American people.”

This came a day after the indictments were published by the grand jury. Across the aisle, however, William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson remains in the House Democratic Caucus despite having been indicted on 16 counts of corruption-related felonies in June 2007. His trial just got delayed while he appeals the overruling of his attempt to hide his corruption behind the speech and debate clause of the Constitution.

Has Pelosi demanded that he resign his seat since his indictment? Has any Democrat in the House demanded that Jefferson step down after this indictment? No; the only action Pelosi took was to strip Jefferson of his seat on the Small Business Committee. Earlier, she had tried to put him on the Homeland Security Committee, only backing down when Republicans threatened to block it and debate all committee assignments on the House floor.

Now, which party acts more responsibly to clean up its own house, as well as the House?

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