“In the run-up to the Democratic takeover of Congress, Rep. Nancy Pelosi crisscrossed the country promisingtomakepassingethicsreform her first order of business as speaker. But now, even before she takes the reins in January, she is being confronted with a series of tough ethics decisions that will determine whether her party will succeedatchangingthecultureofCapitol Hill,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.
“That culture — an ethos of rewardingpower,electoralsuccessand yearsofseniority—wonanot-so-surprisingendorsementinLouisianaon [Dec. 9]. It was there that Democrat Rep. William Jefferson — the congressman found by the FBI to have $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer — was handily re-elected in a runoff raceagainstachallengerfromwithin his own party. Even as he may be indictedonbriberychargesinthecoming months, he is now pushing to be givenbacktheprizedseatonthetaxwriting Ways and Means Committee hewasforcedtosurrenderearlierthis year. And he can count on support of the Congressional Black Caucus in putting the squeeze on Ms. Pelosi,” Mr. Fund said.
“There’salsoyettoberesolvedthe issueofWestVirginiaDemocratRep. AlanMollohan.Hewasforcedtostep down this year as ranking Democrat ontheHouse ethicscommittee andis underactiveFBIinvestigationoverallegations he may have illegally enhanced his income by steering $250 million in federal earmarks to five nonprofitorganizationsstaffedbyhis former aides and business partner. With the elections safely over, Mr. Mollohan is now in line to become chairman of the powerful Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the FBI’s budget.”