Nancy Pelosi’s high ethical standards

I didn’t see this coming: The House ethics panel has recommended a tough punishment for Charlie Rangel, the 80-year-old former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Despite his tearful plea for mercy, the panel recommended censure, which is the second toughest punishment at their disposal.
There are a couple of obvious ironies here. The first is this: Rangel might have avoided this embarrassing public spectacle and received a lesser punishment if he had taken the plea deal the ethics committee offered him over the summer. But he rejected it. As a former prosecutor, Rangel should have understood the risk of rejecting the plea.

The second irony is this: It was the iron will of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who pledged to “drain the swamp” and elevate ethics in the House, that led to Rangel’s predicament. Over the strenuous objections of incoming House Speaker John Boehner, Pelosi insisted on establishing an independent Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate misconduct by members of the House.
Boehner plans to eliminate the OCE. From The National Journal:

Boehner and most of the other House Republicans voted against the OCE’s creation two years ago. Anticipating its closure, the office’s staff director and chief counsel, Leo Wise, has announced that he is leaving for a job with the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.

Under Wise, the OCE has looked into 69 complaints and recommended action on 13 of them. It has operated as an inspector general of sorts and has won praise for reviving the House’s notoriously moribund and secretive ethics process. Among others cases, the office brought to light allegations of wrongdoing by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who is now on trial in the House on charges related to fundraising, financial-disclosure, and tax irregularities.

Asked about the OCE, Buck said that Boehner will “take a look at current ethics rules” but that ethics “has really not been the focus of our transition efforts.” GOP leaders probably won’t vote publicly to kill the OCE but will simply quietly defund it next year, said John Wonderlich, policy director of the Sunlight Foundation. The foundation has been working with GOP transition leaders on their transparency agenda and has lobbied for the OCE’s preservation.

Some tea partiers want the OCE to remain open, and an Ohio group has warned Boehner not to shut it down: (h/t ThinkProgress

The Ohio Liberty Council, the main umbrella organization for 58 Tea Party groups in the state, supports efforts to strengthen the OCE and is warning House GOP leaders that any attempt to weaken it will upset Tea Party activists.

“I[f] they move in the opposite direction of transparency that this office provides, I think we will be very upset about that,” said Chris Littleton, president of the Ohio Liberty Council and the Cincinnati Tea Party. “Symbolically, it’s a huge problem for them … they should be as transparent as they can be. Any opposition to that would be inappropriate on their part.”

The tea partiers will lose the fight. Boehner will quietly shut down the office, and House members can resume business as usual.

206 comments Add your comment

granny godzilla

November 19th, 2010
7:22 am

” Buck said that Boehner will “take a look at current ethics rules” but that ethics “has really not been the focus of our transition efforts”

Wow.

They may defund OCE, but I for one, won’t let it happen quietly.

None of us should.

Speaking of the GOP transition:

VIDEO: After Promising New Era Of Disclosure, GOP Refuses To Disclose Transition-Related Documents

Larry

November 19th, 2010
7:42 am

And what exactly does censure accomplish? Besides standing in the hall and having a public reading of his misdeeds. Is he stripped of all of his committee positions? Is he prevented from offering any earmarks? What exactly is so “Tough” about censure?
By the way I’m undecided about whether the OCE should remain open. What is the cost of this group and how effective is it? 13/69 is not a very high batting average so it doesn’t seem that it was that tough. I don’t know the particulars of any of the cases or the process used to file a complaint so I can’t comment on their effectiveness. I do know that the Rep. from La. was allowed to maintain his position for way too long after he was found with “cool” cash in his refrigerator. I think that was before Pelosi took the speakership but I believe she was a staunch defender of the the Rep. before so I don’t see her as particularily tough, partisan yes, tough no. Just my thoughts.

Gale

November 19th, 2010
7:43 am

It seems outrageous to me that this serious punishment amounts to a the same thing as student being criticized in front of the class for cheating on the test. Meanwhile, many of his fellow “students” smirk at the fact they were not caught at their similar cheating, and merely think he was careless, not that he was wrong.

Finn McCool

November 19th, 2010
7:45 am

Boehner plans to eliminate the OCE.

Hey, they ARE Republicans, right? What do you expect? A level playing field? Honesty? hah.

Interesting

November 19th, 2010
7:50 am

I’m sure that if it is about the cost of investigations Boehner will have many willing volunteers to staff the office.

I’m not sure he wants that comsidering he may become the target.

Jimmy62

November 19th, 2010
7:50 am

There have been a lot of other things that have come to light that Pelosi ignored. She was Speaker for four years, and in that time Rangel is the only ethically challenged Congressmen she did anything about. By no reasonable measure was this anything close to “The most ethical Congress ever.”

Joel Edge

November 19th, 2010
7:53 am

“Boehner will quietly shut down the office”

Can I borrow that crystal ball?

nothing new

November 19th, 2010
7:55 am

How could you see it coming, Cynthia Tucker? Your hair is in your eyes.

dougmo2

November 19th, 2010
7:55 am

CT when Princess Pelosi goes after Barney Frank (aka Elmer Fudd) for his role in the Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae debacle I will not believe her. Until then, she talks the talk about “draining the swamp”, but that’s it.

nothing new

November 19th, 2010
7:56 am

Please cut your hair, Cynthia. A pretty face should be seen, not veiled.

Good Grief

November 19th, 2010
7:57 am

But, Jimmy, Nancy Pelosi told us it would be the most ethical Congress ever. I didn’t think a Democrat would ever knowingly lie to the people.

Dave from GT

November 19th, 2010
7:58 am

Pelosi shoud censure herself for stealing an air force B757 to shuttle her regal self back or forth from her cesspool district of drug addicts and gay porn.

T-Town

November 19th, 2010
8:00 am

“Congress got richer during bad economy. Despite a long and deep recession, the collective personal wealth of congressional members increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politic….”

And they could only find Rangel? I guess someone had to be sacrificed.

James

November 19th, 2010
8:02 am

She pulled an empty beer can out of the cesspool we call congress- that is it. Hardly heavy lifting.

Good Grief

November 19th, 2010
8:04 am

Not only did she pull an empty beer can out of the cesspool, she proceeded to scold that beer can and then actually put it back in the cesspool. Good job.

Georgian

November 19th, 2010
8:05 am

Whats highly laughable is to label this blog about Nancy Pelosi’s high ethical standards. Nancy has NO ethical standard.

StJ

November 19th, 2010
8:06 am

“Nancy Pelosi’s high ethical standards”…how funny. This is the same Nasty Pelosi who engaged in browbeating and arm-twisting other Democrats into voting for the so-called heatlth “care” bill and insisted that we had to pass it to see what was in it. Also the same one who’s spending $18,000+ per month of taxpayer money for office “expenses”.

Her “high ethical standards” are about the same as Cynthia McKinney’s.

James

November 19th, 2010
8:09 am

good point good grief. The Indian from the 70s would definitely be tearing up at all the rubbish.

Fed-Up

November 19th, 2010
8:13 am

Gupta’s InfoUSA Pays Pelosi’s Son (Culture of Corruption, Pelosi Style)
newsmax ^ | 06/06/2007 | milwguy

Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 5:06:14 PM by milwguy

A database company that has showered money on Bill and Hillary Clinton – and is alleged to have aided scam artists – now appears to have close links to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s family as well.

The firm InfoUSA, headed by major Clinton backer Vinod Gupta, has placed Pelosi’s son, Paul Pelosi Jr., on its payroll – even though he has no experience in the company’s main business activities, NewsMax has learned.

As NewsMax previously reported, InfoUSA repeatedly rented marketing databases to unscrupulous persons who used the information to defraud the unsuspecting elderly, investigators found.

The company is also under fire in a shareholder lawsuit which alleges that Gupta is appropriating company funds for personal use and his political pet projects.

Shareholder critics are furious that Gupta had InfoUsa pay former President Bill Clinton $2.1 million in “consulting fees” since he left the White House, with another $1.2 million promised.

Story Continues Below

Gupta has also spent roughly $1 million of InfoUsa funds to provide corporate jet flights for both President Clinton and his wife Hillary.

Pelosi’s son Paul acknowledged he has also been taking trips on corporate jets provided by Info USA.

Paid $180,000 for Second Job

Just four weeks after Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House this past January, Gupta and InfoUSA hired her son as a senior vice president. He told NewsMax InfoUsa pays him $180,000 a year.

Even though his job with InfoUSA is considered full-time, Paul Pelosi continues another full-time job, as a home loan officer at Countrywide Home Loans, part of Countrywide Financial, in San Mateo, a suburb of San Francisco.

While InfoUSA is based in Omaha, Pelosi said he reports to a small InfoUSA office in San Mateo.

In two interviews, Paul Pelosi confirmed that Gupta hired him as senior vice president for strategic development starting Feb. 1, just after Pelosi’s mother took the gavel as speaker on Jan. 4. He said his mother is aware of his new job.

A person familiar with the arrangement says Gupta treats Pelosi as a “trophy” and has the Speaker’s son accompany him at high profile meetings around the country.

Pelosi denied the suggestion he is being used because of his family ties.

“I don’t think that’s really what happens,” he said.

Nor does he “think” his hiring was related to his mother becoming speaker, he said. But he acknowledged the timing raises a “good question.”

“It’s interesting, timing-wise,” Pelosi said. “I don’t see it that way, but I could see why you’d ask the question … I guess you always wonder why somebody hires you, right?”

Asked how he can hold two full-time jobs at once, Pelosi said Countrywide is satisfied as long as he fulfills his quotas.

Spokesmen for Nancy Pelosi and for InfoUSA did not respond to requests by NewsMax for comment.

Funny….this article doesn’t really mention that Nancy’s husband was on the board of BOTH…Countrywide and Bank of America. She is as crooked as they come.

mystified

November 19th, 2010
8:20 am

Fed-up….It’s easier to criticize republicans for what they might do one day in the future than to call attention to the warts on their own noses.

BlahBlahBlah

November 19th, 2010
8:21 am

One slam dunk case vs. Rangel does not equal “draining the swamp”

Reality

November 19th, 2010
8:23 am

The Tea Party and the Democrats find common ground – interesting….

Also, is anyone really shocked that the republicans want to continue their business-as-usual manipulation of the system to take every advantage for themselves and for the uber-wealthy? They have no values or morals and will continue to rape the American middle class…… and those that voted for them will deserve every rape they get!

burp bacharach

November 19th, 2010
8:28 am

Nancy is the hottest grandma this side of Mrs. Claus….

T-Town

November 19th, 2010
8:28 am

Ms. Tucker; An ethical congress is a oxymoron. The OCE is just a window dressing group established to punish those in congress with smoke and mirrors. Rangel should have been kicked out, but only had his hand smacked. Me thinks many more in congress would have been discovered being unethical if the OCE would have done their job diligently, but this would have upset the apple cart on both sides of the aisle. OCE locating only one dishonest fish in a pond full of them does not make the OCE a success.

Georgian

November 19th, 2010
8:40 am

Nancy Pelosi has presided over more turmoil, greed, corruption, hate, and dishonesty than any other Speaker in history. She has presided over the most unethical behavior, had the most partisanship, had the least public approval, and been the most overrated of her peers.

She is without a doubt the worst Speaker in the history of the United States of America.

Sarah Palin

November 19th, 2010
8:41 am

- -Nancy Pelosi’s high ethical standards- -

This is living proof that democrat’s standards for ethical behavior hovers just above the standards for Stalin.

kayaker 71

November 19th, 2010
8:46 am

“Nancy Pelosi’s high ethical standards”….

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

Congressional Black Caucus criticizes Charley for being only the 23rd person who was formally censured in the history of the Congress and pulls his membership.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

granny godzilla

November 19th, 2010
8:51 am

Pardon me T-Town…..

From thehill.com

Congressional Ethics office reviewed 23 complaints in first quarter of 2010
By Susan Crabtree – 04/20/10 11:33 AM ET

The Office of Congressional Ethics has reviewed 23 inquiries into members conduct so far this year, according to the office’s quarterly report.

In just a year and a half since its founding, the OCE has reviewed complaints against nearly 11 percent of House members.

The Office, which reviews potential ethics rules violations and recommends further investigation by the full House ethics committee, opened 25 inquiries in 2009. Of the new investigations this quarter, the OCE reported ending 18 probes after the preliminary review stage, a step that prevents disclosure of any information related to the members and the complaints against them.

The members under investigation are only revealed if the OCE recommends further review by the ethics panel, which is made up of members of Congress and a staff of lawyers and investigators.

Of the seven cases the OCE continued to investigate after further review, it only recommended further action by the ethics committee in one case so far, bringing its total to 13 cases the office has referred for more investigation since its inception. Six other cases are under a second phase OCE review.

The one case forwarded to the ethics committee focused on allegations that former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), a candidate for governor, far exceeded House limits on earned outside income and used his staff to help maintain a stream of income from a no-bid state business deal.

Deal resigned his House seat an hour after he voted no on the healthcare reform bill March 21. The next day was the deadline for the ethics committee to determine whether it should issue a report. The OCE’s board of governors voted unanimously to release its report and did so March 29.

Moderate Line

November 19th, 2010
8:54 am

As a former prosecutor, Rangel should have understood the risk of rejecting the plea.
+++++++++++++
You are probably right but even a lawyer shouldn’t represent himself because they can separate their emotions from the facts. It is very sad to see a man who is very likable and who has done so much good fall from grace.

Moderate Line

November 19th, 2010
8:55 am

Should have said “can’t” not “can”.

quod erat demonstrandum

November 19th, 2010
8:57 am

Hmm, Nancy Pelosi, high ethical standards?

This woman is more divisive than Sarah Palin.

Jim

November 19th, 2010
8:57 am

Let’s see now…Charlie Rangel forgot to report taxable income to the IRS for years due to sloppy bookkeeping. I’ll even grant that he had no intention to defraud, cheat or hide anything from the IRS.

CT, I can’t believe that you consider censure to be “tough punishment”. It may be the second toughest punishment Congress can meet out – but it is a puny slap on the wrist. What would happen to you or I if we overlooked reporting taxable income to the IRS? There would be penalties and interest to pay inaddition to the back taxes and it could even result in a jail term. Charlie Rangel got a sweetheart deal from the IRS and they declined to asses either interest or penalites. This totally reeks of privilege.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

November 19th, 2010
9:02 am

The voters did a pretty good job of draining Pelosi’s swamp for her. More to come in2012. Rangel should have been expelled, he is the poster child for the ” I make the laws, therefore they don’t apply to me” mentality that makes honest Americans distrust and loathe the Congress.

T-Town

November 19th, 2010
9:02 am

Pardon me granny, but according to your post: “…..The Office of Congressional Ethics has reviewed 23 inquiries into members conduct so far this year, according to the office’s quarterly report.

In just a year and a half since its founding, the OCE has reviewed complaints against nearly 11 percent of House members”…..

And only ONE congressman had his case forwarded for review? Question Granny, do you believe only ONE congressman did anything wrong during this time period? Best remember: “…The members under investigation are only revealed if the OCE recommends further review by the ethics panel, which is made up of members of Congress and a staff of lawyers and investigators”……

Nothing Is Free

November 19th, 2010
9:02 am

Ethical Standards.

For democrats?

I’ve never heard of such a thing.

carlosgvv

November 19th, 2010
9:04 am

John Boener strenously objected to establishing and independent Office of Congressional Ethics. That’s about as suppising as saying the sun shines and the sky is blue.

carlosgvv

November 19th, 2010
9:04 am

quod erat demonstrandum

November 19th, 2010
9:05 am

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho,

It seems the democrats have a thing about – I am above the law –

Rangel, Geithner for example. Seems he had other appointees that fail vetting for tax issues also.

Finn McCool

November 19th, 2010
9:06 am

You folks are saying there were “more” ethics violators than just Rangel without proof?

mwuahahahahahaha. Idjits.

granny godzilla

November 19th, 2010
9:07 am

TTown

“Question Granny, do you believe only ONE congressman did anything wrong during this time period”

Nope. However, please note the time period – 1 quarter – that would be 90 days….

Question T Town

With out the OCE even that would not have happened. In defunding or dismatling OCE you would allow Congres to police itself. Do you think
that ANY ethics investigations would take place under those circumstances?

Joe The Plumber Too!

November 19th, 2010
9:07 am

That has to be the FUNNIEST title ever. High ethical standards and nasty piglosi do not belong in the same sentence. HAHAHA HA HA HA……………………

quod erat demonstrandum

November 19th, 2010
9:08 am

In the same vein of – I am above the law – Congress gets a cost of living increase to their already bloated salary.

Seniors on Social Security do not.

Two standards – one for Congress and one for the rest of America.

That ain’t right – Nancy – show us your “Ethical Standard” now.

Fed-Up

November 19th, 2010
9:11 am

Wasn’t another one of Obama’s Czars “Quietly” indicted yesterday for a pay to play scheme? This time it was the car czar. Is anyone affiliated with this administration clean? Coincidentally enough…this comes on the day that American taxpayers realized that we are on the hook for $10 billiong in bailout money to GM. Osama held a press conference to tout the success. He successfully wasted $10 billion of taxpayer money to payback he and Pelosi’s union buddies.

barking frog

November 19th, 2010
9:17 am

Republicans win, Duke is avenged. Charlie is
embarassed but he’s still Congressman Rangel,
a tough fighter, in war or in peace.

AFret

November 19th, 2010
9:17 am

Tucker, Here are some examples of some high ethical standards for ya from Judical Watch. Poor (former speaker) Pelosi. The cross she had to bear for “Offical Travel”.
In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”
One DOD official complained about the “hidden costs” associated with the speaker’s last minute changes and cancellations. “We have…folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc.”
The documents include a discussion of House Ethics rules and Defense Department policies as they apply to the speaker’s requests for staff, spouses and extended family to accompany her on military aircraft. In May 2008, for example, Pelosi requested that her husband join her on a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) into Iraq. The DOD explained to Pelosi that the agency has a written policy prohibiting spouses from joining CODEL’s into combat zones.
Documents obtained from the U.S. Army include correspondence from Speaker Pelosi’s office requesting an Army escort and three military planes to transport Pelosi and other members of Congress to Cleveland, Ohio, for the funeral services of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Pelosi noted in her letter of August 22, 2008, that such a request, labeled “Operation Tribute” was an “exception to standard policy.”
The documents also detail correspondence from intermediaries for Speaker Pelosi issuing demands for certain aircraft and expressing outrage when requested military planes were not available. “It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable…The speaker will want to know where the planes are…” wrote Kay King, Director of the House Office of Interparliamentary Affairs. In a separate email, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King writes, “This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset [s]peaker.”
During another email exchange DOD staff advised Kay King that one Pelosi military aircraft request could not be met because of “crew rest requirements” and offered to help secure commercial travel. Kay King responded: “We appreciate the efforts to help the codel [sic] fly commercially but you know the problem that creates with spouses. If we can find another way to assist with military assets, we would like to do that.”
Speaker Pelosi came under fire in 2007 for requesting a 42-seat Air Force carrier to ferry the Speaker and her staff back and forth between San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was allowed access to a 12-seat commuter jet for security reasons after the events of 9/11.

“Taken together, these documents show that Speaker Pelosi treats the Air Force like her personal airline,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Not only does Speaker Pelosi issue unreasonable requests for military travel, but her office seems unconcerned about wasting taxpayer money with last minute cancellations and other demands.”

Perhaps you could provide all of us your definition “High Ethical Standards” so the ignorant conservative can become informed!

James

November 19th, 2010
9:18 am

Fed-up- how many times do I have to tell folks don’t give facts- it gets in the way of the liberal story.

Funny….this article doesn’t really mention that Nancy’s husband was on the board of BOTH…Countrywide and Bank of America. She is as crooked as they come.

Scout

November 19th, 2010
9:20 am

Cynthia …….. don’t do stuff like this so early in the morning. I spit my coffee out.

T-Town

November 19th, 2010
9:21 am

“With out the OCE even that would not have happened. In defunding or dismatling OCE you would allow Congres to police itself. Do you think that ANY ethics investigations would take place under those circumstances?”

Granny; My problem is not that we have OCE, it’s who makes up the panel: Congressman investigating Congressman. As a former MP and police officer, I can tell you the “Internal Affairs Units” were not always impartial and police investigating police does not always have the correct outcome. If a case against a congressman goes into the second phase, the problem should be brought forward to the public, the real jury to our elected officials and let us make the determination on guilt and punishment. Even adding lawyers and investigators to the panel does not make it legit as most of us know these people never lie.

granny godzilla

November 19th, 2010
9:25 am

T-Town pardon me….BUT

The OCE was created by House Resolution 895 of the 110th Congress in March 2008.

Governed by an eight-person Board of Directors, Members of the OCE Board are private citizens and cannot serve as members of Congress or work for the federal government. The current members are:

David Skaggs, Chair

Porter Goss, Co-Chair

Yvonne Burke

Jay Eagen

Karan English

William Frenzel

Allison Hayward

Abner Mikva

So now what’s your argument?

Finn McCool

November 19th, 2010
9:27 am

pelosi’s husband sits on the board of two banks so that makes her a criminal and an ethics violator?

Where do you people go to school? How do you come to conclusions like that? Were you home schooled in a cave?