Pelosi denies scandal-tainted Hastings top House intelligence seat
Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 28 informed Rep. Alcee L. Hastings,theFloridaDemocratwho wasremovedasafederaljudgeover bribery charges, that he would be passedoverforthechairmanshipof one of the most sensitive and powerful committees on Capitol Hill.
“Congressman Alcee Hastings and I have had extensive consulta- tions, and today I advised him that I would select someone else as chairman of the House intelligence committee,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a short statement after meeting behind closed doors with Mr. Hastings.
Mrs. Pelosi received intense criticism after suggestions that she wouldelevateMr.Hastingstothetop spot.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle argued that the former federal judge would be a poor choice for chairman because he was charged in 1981 with accepting a $150,000 bribe.AjuryacquittedMr.Hastings after a key witness refused to testify.
Still, a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives later impeached Mr. Hastings on a 4133 vote with support from Mrs. Pelosi and others in Congress who now support Mr. Hastings. The Democrat-led Senate convicted Mr. Hastings and he was removed from office.
Mr. Hastings, the second-ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, maintains his innocence and dismissed the importance of his impeachment.
In a letter to colleagues two weeks ago, he said, “Most of the congresspersons and senators who voted never saw the evidence. Many of them never read the reports of the committee or reviewed the daily videos. Iraq and the bud- get are not the only times votes have been cast without adequate review and knowledge of the facts.”
Among Mr. Hastings’ strongest supporterswerefellowmembersof the Congressional Black Caucus, whose relations with Mrs. Pelosi have been strained. Caucus members have complained about unfair treatment and accused Mrs. Pelosi ofholdingthemtoadoublestandard on ethics matters.