Swept Under the Rug
By Robert Romano
“If the Flake resolution is referred to the Ethics Committee, members can expect attack ads to be run against them alleging members to be ‘under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.'”—House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), in an email to House Democrats.
In the Democrat majority, it is now perceived as an article of faith that the party will suffer not if they fail to root out corruption in their own ranks, but if they fail to adequately cover it up.
Fortunately, 29 courageous House Democrats refused to go along with it, voting against tabling a resolution that would have launched an ethics investigation into Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) and several of his fellow Congressmen for their role in earmarking $300 million to a lobbying firm's clientele. The PMA Group is headed by Paul Magliocchetti, who is currently under an FBI investigation.
According to the Representative Flake's resolution (which failed when it was tabled by a 215-182 vote), PMA has given $3.4 million in political donations to no less than 284 Members of Congress.” Additionally, defense appropriations committee lawmakers and staff were routinely showered with food, drink, and gifts. Lawmakers and staff were annually invited to a posh Alpine Christmas affair. They gorged themselves at expensive restaurant outings. In short, it was politics as usual.
Clearly, it all paid off, with PMA Group clients gathering billions in earmarks over the years, as reported by the New York Times.
In a recent editorial, the Old Grey Lady calls for a full-blown investigation. “Mr. Murtha and two subcommittee colleagues, Peter Visclosky of Indiana and James Moran of Virginia, received more than $4 million in campaign contributions from contract hungry PMA Group clients, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In two recent budgets alone, the three earmarked $137 million for PMA Group clients. It is time to follow the money — all of it.”
The 29 House Democrats who would not treat ethical and transparent government as a partisan issue were Representatives Boccieri, Bright, Childers, Donnelly, Ellsworth, Foster, Giffords, Halvorson, Herseth Sandlin, Hill, Himes, Hodes, Johnson, Kind, Kirkpatrick, Kosmas, Loebsack, Matheson, McIntyre, McNerney, Minnick, Mitchell, Murphy, Perriello, Quigley, Teague, Smith, Visclosky, and Walz.
They deserve the thanks of their constituents, and the American people at large, for standing against their own Party, opting instead for the high road of ethics over seniority. In the long run, it is not they who will suffer for having done the right thing. Rather, it is those who try to sweep the misdeeds under the rug who will one day suffer politically when the wrongdoing reaches the light of day and they did nothing to expose it.
In the meantime, as they suffer the withering retribution of an outraged Speaker, they deserve the heartfelt thanks of a grateful nation.
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.