Freshmen Fail First Ethics Test

Sadly, this isn’t a surprise. From the Majority Accountability Project:

U.S. Rep. Jack Murtha gave nearly $50,000 to 19 House freshmen who abandoned a week-old pledge to toughen House ethics rules by voting against a reprimand of Murtha for reportedly violating those rules.

Despite last week’s media blitz promoting tougher ethics enforcement, a group of freshmen Congressmen failed their first practical test Tuesday night, when they refused to reprimand one of their colleagues for an apparent ethics violation.

In fact, those freshmen wouldn’t even allow a debate to occur on the House floor, killing a privileged resolution before it could be considered by the full House.

On May 16, Democrat lawmakers held a news conference in Washington, DC, where more than two dozen freshmen announced a push for stronger ethics enforcement. The members followed up that event with local media, garnering widespread attention for vowing to reform Congress.

“Members of Congress must know that if they break the rules,” Ohio’s Zack Space told C-SPAN, “they will be caught and punished.”

But when Space was given the chance to punish one of his own, Pennsylvania Democrat Jack Murtha, he refused. Murtha contributed $2,000 to Space’s campaign last fall.

[…]

In fact, twenty-two of the twenty three freshmen who spent last week promoting tougher House ethics voted on Tuesday to kill the reprimand. One, North Carolina’s Heath Shuler, voted “present.” Shuler did not receive any funds from Murtha during his campaign.

In addition to the members already mentioned, the following freshmen who vowed tougher ethics rules, yet refused to rebuke Murtha, received the following contributions from the Pennsylvania Democrat. They are: Patrick Murphy, PA, $7,000; David Loebsack, IA, $4,500; Peter Welch, VT, $4,000; Yvette Clarke, NY, $4,000.

Additionally, Murtha contributed $2,000 each to Harry Mitchell, AZ; Jerry McNerney, CA; Ed Perlmutter, CO; Tim Mahoney, FL; Brad Ellsworth, IN; Baron Hill, IN; Tim Walz, MN; Paul Hodes, NH; Albio Sires, NJ; Kirsten Gillibrand, NY; Betty Sutton, OH; and Steven Kagen, WI.

So, Jack Murtha appears to have purchased for himself a pass to continue to bully and intimidate anyone he wants in order to get what he wants.

Update: Murtha sent Congressman Rogers a note apologizing for his threat. Hopefully a little humble pie will do Murtha some good.

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