Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tom DeLay going out with a Bang

It appears that Tom DeLay feels empowered by his decision to resign from the house. In response to a question today by a reporter, he said that if no other member of congress will act, that he will file an Ethics Complaint against Cynthia McKinney, the democrat representative from Georgia who hit a Capitol Police officer who was manning a building security post.

It was an incident in 1998 involving Tom Delay's staff that prompted the increased security for te capitol which includes the checkpoint that McKinney blew past last week. From Human Events Online blog The Right Angle:

The subject of McKinney came up after DeLay recounted a fond memory he had of a Capitol Police officer killed in the line of duty. When asked about his best and worst days as a lawmaker, he said his best day was the GOP’s sweep in 1994.

The worst day, he recalled, was July 24, 1998, when Capitol Police Detective John Gibson was shot to death by Russell Weston Jr. in DeLay’s office. Fellow officer Jacob “J.J.” Chestnut was also killed that day protecting the congressman’s staff from the gunman.

The episode prompted DeLay to erect a tribute to Gibson on his office wall. He told reporters that a plaque he keeps in his office with the words “This Could Be the Day” serves as a reminder of Gibson, who had discussed its meaning with DeLay only two days before he was killed.

In case you have missed this story, here's the scoop from the April 4 Washington Times article Capitol Police seek McKinney's arrest :

The prosecution request stems from an incident last week in which Mrs. McKinney was stopped for bypassing a metal detector at the entrance to one of the congressional office buildings.

Members of Congress are not required to go through the metal detectors, but officers did not recognize her because she recently had changed her hairdo and was not wearing the member's pin that identifies her as a member of Congress. Once stopped, Mrs. McKinney swatted the officer with her cellular phone, according to police reports.

McKinney could also be brought before the Ethics Committee because of misuse of government funds. From the WSB-TV, Atlanta Ga. website: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/8343403/detail.html:

Rep. Cynthia McKinney admits that she broke government rules by spending money to fly a celebrity to Atlanta.
Using the money to pay for Hayes' airline ticket and hotel expenses is a violation of strict congressional rules. Those rules state that taxpayer money can only be used for "travel by Members, Members' employees and vendors. A vendor is an employee of a private company that provides maintenance and support for equipment and software..."

Watchdog groups call taxpayer-funded celebrity travel a blatant waste of taxpayer money.

She has offered to pay back the money, but that shouldn't absolve her of punishment for a clear ethical violation. She certainly must have known that flying a celebrity on our money for her own purposes was unethical.

The house ethics process is broken. The democrats have shut it down so they can complain about ethics without having to deal with actually proving anything. There's also the historic reluctance of sitting members to file charges against each other, since frankly a lot of what they ALL do could be turned into an ethics probe.

But with DeLay resigning in two months, he is free to file as many complaints as he wants. What will the democrats do, threaten to retaliate against other house members? The know Hastert has no more control over DeLay since he can't punish him more than the resignation does. If the Dems try to retaliate anyway, they will risk an all-out war.

It could be a fun couple of months.

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