December 29 2004
THE PATHETIC ETHICS OF JIM McDERMOTT: It's
bad enough that Jim McDermott went
to Baghdad in October 2002 and called the President
of the United States a liar. Or that the following month
the voters of Washington state's 7th Congressional District
added insult to injury by reelecting McDermott with 75%
of the vote.
year, in an October 22 court decision over the question
of McDermott's involvement in leaking the transcript of
an illegally intercepted phone call in 1997, Judge Thomas
Hogan held that
McDermott's "willful and knowing misconduct rises to
the level of malice." McDermott, who is appealing
the decision, has been ordered to pay a $60,000 fine and
all the legal costs in the case, which could run close to
$600,000. Once again, voters didn't seem to care: two weeks
after the judge's ruling McDermott won reelection to a ninth
Congressional term with
81% of the vote.
most of you probably remember, the case against McDermott
involves the now famous 1997 conference call regarding the
investigation of Newt Gingrich that was surreptitiously
recorded off of the cell phone of Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
by a couple in Florida. The couple then passed along a transcript
of the illegally taped conversation to McDermott who promptly
leaked it to The New York Times and The Atlanta
Journal Constitution. At the time McDermott was the
ranking member of the House Ethics Committee.
Florida pair who taped the phone call eventually pleaded
guilty to violating wiretapping laws and received fines
of $500 each. McDermott denied leaking the transcript and
was never charged with a criminal offense, but he did resign
his seat on the Ethics Committee.
Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports today
that in the wake of the recent court decision McDermott
fired off a rather odious fundraising letter titled, "Newt
Gingrich Yesterday, Tom DeLay Today:"
his First Amendment rights," [the letter] says, "McDermott
used the press to expose Gingrich's deceptive behavior
in violation of an agreement with the ethics panel."
McDermott letter claims that the GOP leadership "continues
to use the courts" to "pursue" him.
is a dubious claim. Boehner is no longer in the leadership.
Gingrich and then-majority leader Dick Armey are long
gone from Congress.
the letter takes after House Majority Leader Tom DeLay,
and invites givers to "help continue the fight for
indirectly is the letter's real purpose disclosed: Its
goal is not to fund any campaign, but to pay McDermott's
legal fees. "We cannot allow Republican leaders to
financially destroy a member of Congress who has a proven
track record of standing up for endangered democratic
values," it states.
truth is far different. McDermott could have settled with
Boehner. The Ohioan simply asked for an apology to the
House, an admission of wrongdoing and a $10,000 donation
to charity. Instead, McDermott is appealing the latest
judgment, and wants donors to foot the bill.
to the recent court decision, after seven long years the
House Ethics Committee has finally decided to launch an
investigation into McDermott's behavior. Let's hope
they concur with Judge Hogan, conclude the obvious and charge
McDermott with violating the standards of conduct and the
ethics rules of the House. And let's hope the voters of
Washington state's 7th district take notice this time and
go find themselves a better representative. - T.
Bevan 9:45 am Link
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