WEAKENED ETHICS RULES: NO WONDER REPUBLICANS ARE SO CONFIDENT -- (House of Representatives - April 20, 2005)
(Mr. PALLONE asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, what are House Republicans afraid of? True, there are constant newspaper reports about a member of the Republican leadership participating in questionable activities dealing with Washington lobbyists, trips overseas and questionable financial dealings. However, if Republicans are so confident that these activities do not constitute a breaking of the House rules, why have the Republicans made it virtually impossible for the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to do its job?
Earlier this year, the Republicans weakened the ethics rules. Under the new Republican rules, if a majority of the committee cannot determine whether or not an investigation should proceed after 45 days of receiving a complaint, it would simply be dropped. Under the old bipartisan ethics rules, a subcommittee was created after the 45-day deadline to investigate the ethics charges.
It is no wonder Republican leaders are so confident. If they keep their Republican troops on the committee in line, they do not have to worry about an investigation. And this is no way to run an ethics committee. It is time that House Republicans join the Democrats in rejecting these new rules in favor of fair, bipartisan rules that restore confidence to the House ethics process.