|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
APRIL 4, 2005
|CONTACT: Common Cause
Upholding the Integrity of the House
WASHINGTON -- April 4 -- House Members return this week to Washington after an Easter break to face the same mess they left unresolved two weeks ago: No ethics system in place as allegations of improper conduct pile up against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and other lawmakers.
House Members must take action fast to restore at least some semblance of accountability to the "People's House." Leaders must bring to the House floor for consideration a resolution by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) that, if passed, would at least allow the Ethics Committee to function again. The committee essentially ceased to exist earlier this year after Democrats on the panel refused to formally organize to protest Republican changes to ethics rules that were forced on the House in January to shield DeLay.
Mollohan's measure would do nothing more than reverse those changes and allow the Ethics Committee - now loaded with GOP party loyalists -- to at least begin considering some of the allegations raised against DeLay and other Republican and Democratic members involving foreign junkets that were paid for illegally by lobbyists and others.
Mollohan's resolution has 206 sponsors so far, all Democrats with the exceptions of former Ethics Committee Chairman Joel Hefley (R-CO), who was fired after leading investigations into DeLay that resulted in three admonishments, and Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), who has been critical of DeLay.
Common Cause calls on Republicans to support this measure and demand that their leaders bring it to a vote on the House floor. After all, when new members of Congress are sworn in, they pledge to "well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office. Upholding the integrity of the House is part of that duty. Nothing less is at stake here.