Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Ethics? Whatever.. Sign the petition please...

As we predicted a couple of weeks ago, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) was ousted today as chairman of the House Ethics Committee. In replacing Hefley, HouseSpeaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is sending a clear signal that partisan politics trumps accountability and ethical standards in the "people's House." Rep. Hefley led an Ethics Committee that took difficult steps in investigating and ultimately admonishing House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) for unethical behavior three separate times last year. Today, Rep. Hefley's leadership is beingtossed aside as an apparent punishment for having the chutzpah to stand up to DeLay and carry out his duty as Ethics Committee Chairman honorably.
It seems DeLay's ethical crisis has brought yet another dishonor to the House leadership, which felt compelled toremove someone who actually believed in upholding ethical standards. This is why it is so important for all of usto make an unequivocal statement that we cannot let the leadership in DeLay's Congress compromise all ethicalstandards and trump accountability with partisan politics. So if you haven't already, please sign our petition calling forDeLay to step down as the Majority Leader:
We have set a goal of collecting 100,000 signatures before we present the petition, and we have already collected wellover 50,000. So, if you have already signed our petition please forward it to all of your family, friends or colleagues andurge them to join our campaign to hold DeLay accountable:
We don't know yet what kind of Ethics Committee Hefley's replacement, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), will run. But giventhe rules changes the House leaders passed last month that will make it much harder to initiate investigations, plus thechilling cloud under which they showed Hefley the door, it is hard to imagine there will be much activity. House leaders claim that they replaced Hefley as ethics chairman due to term limits. Yet on the first day of the 109thCongress the same leaders waived the term limit rule so Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) could serve another term as Chairmanof the Rules Committee. Clearly the leadership could have allowed Hefley to stay on if they wanted.
Again, we cannot afford to sit back and let this kind of partisan power play go unchecked. So if you have not done soalready, please make sure to sign on to our campaign to remove DeLay as the Majority Leader of the "people's House," where partisan politics today trumped accountability and ethical standards.
Thank you for all you do for Common Cause.
Chellie PingreePresident & CEO, Common Cause
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