What about rest of Capi­tol Hill’s dirty laun­dry?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

The same con­gres­sional panel that launched a pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry into Weiner-gate last week had been did­dling around with sev­eral other Demo­cratic ethics scan­dals for

These aren’t foxes guard­ing the hen­house.

They’re sloths guard­ing the fox­hole.

The House Ethics Com­mit­tee is now re­port­edly prob­ing into Twit­ter-holic Demo­cratic New York Rep. An­thony Weiner’s pos­si­ble abuse of gov­ern­ment re­sources while send­ing pervy mes­sages and pho­tos to young women across the coun­try.

The lat­est batch of the re­cently-re­signed Weiner’s leaked so­cial-me­dia self-por­traits, more cheesecake than beef­cake, showed him in var­i­ous states of un­dress at the con­gres­sional gym.

From what other pub­lic build­ings has Ick-arus tweeted his junk?

And how much time on the pub­lic’s dime did his gov­ern­ment staff spend coach­ing Weiner girls to as­sist with dam­age con­trol?

Don’t ex­pect an an­swer from the House ethics watch­dogs un­til af­ter Weiner’s first child en­ters kinder­garten. The wheels of jus­tice grind more slowly there than a dial-up mo­dem.

years.

Weiner’s dirty laun­dry is just the lat­est ad­di­tion to a teem­ing heap of scan­dal.

To wit: The com­mit­tee

hasn’t is­sued a fi­nal re­port into last year’s reck­less Capi­tol Hill preda­tor du jour, for­mer Demo­cratic New York Rep. Eric Massa.

He’s the no­to­ri­ous creep who se­ri­ally groped male staffers and sub­jected in­terns to “tickle fights” for months while thenHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi looked the other way.

Then there’s Belt­way swamp queen Demo­cratic Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Max­ine Waters.

Last sum­mer, af­ter a year­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the House Ethics Com­mit­tee charged her with three vi­o­la­tions re­lated to her crony in­ter­ven­tion on be­half of mi­nor­ity-owned OneUnited Bank in Los An­ge­les.

The panel ac­cused Waters of bring­ing dis­credit to the House for us­ing her in­flu­ence to seek and se­cure tax­payer-sub­si­dized spe­cial fa­vors for the fail­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion.

Her Demo­cratic guardians have suc­cess­fully de­layed a trial for 10 months.

still

An­other Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat, Rep. Laura Richard­son, has been un­der the House Ethics mi­cro­scope since the fall of 2009. She de­faulted six times on home loans, left a trail of un­paid bills in her wake and al­legedly failed to re­port re­quired in­for­ma­tion on her fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sure forms while re­ceiv­ing spe­cial treat­ment from a lender.

While the panel cleared her of “know­ingly” ac­cept­ing fa­vors, she is re­port­edly the sub­ject of a sec­ond probe into us­ing em­ploy­ees on gov­ern­ment time to work on her po­lit­i­cal cam­paign.

The panel has also toyed for the past two years with Illi­nois Demo­cratic Rep. Jesse Jack­son Jr.’s pay-for-play scan­dal in­volv­ing charges that he or his staff sought to buy Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s for­mer Se­nate seat.

A sep­a­rate con­gres­sional ethics of­fice re­ferred the mat­ter to the House ethics panel af­ter it “learned that staff re­sources of the rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and Chicago, Ill., of­fices were used to mount a ‘pub­lic cam­paign’ to se­cure the rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s ap­point­ment to the U.S. Se­nate.”

But Jack­son’s House ethics probe re­mains on ice while the feds chase for­mer Illi­nois Gov. Rod Blago­je­vich, who was at the cen­ter of the scheme and re­mains on trial.

The House Ethics Com­mit­tee suffers from dys­func­tion by de­sign. It is chron­i­cally un­der­staffed and un­der­funded.

The panel most re­cently went with­out a staff di­rec­tor for four months.

I’ve said it be­fore, and I’ll say it again: House-soil­ers can’t be clean­ers. Vot­ers, not Wash­ing­ton politi­cians, are the ultimate ethics com­mit­tee.

Its in­ves­tiga­tive back­log was com­pounded by the par­ti­san­charged sus­pen­sion of two staff at­tor­neys last fall who were knee-deep in the Waters’ probe. And the panel’s rank­ing Demo­cratic mem­ber, Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Linda Sanchez, is bogged down with her own eth­i­cal conflicts of in­ter­est.

Sanchez’s chief of staff, Adam Brand, is the son of the lawyer han­dling Waters’ ethics de­fense.

That lawyer, Stan Brand, also rep­re­sented Sanchez and her sis­ter, Demo­cratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, in a sep­a­rate ethics case. The sis­ters en­gaged in smelly hir­ing shenani­gans af­ter an aide to Loretta em­bez­zled money from the of­fice ac­count in 2006.

Short of funds, Loretta “bor­rowed” three aides from Linda’s staff.

House rules ban mem­bers from pay­ing peo­ple to do work in of­fices other than their own. Mirac­u­lously, Loretta’s em­bez­zling aide avoided jail time, and the Sanchez sis­ters es­caped any sanc­tions for their pay­roll-shar­ing col­lu­sion.

The House ethics opin­ion on the mat­ter re­mains con­fi­den­tial.

In­tended to boost vot­ers’ con­fi­dence in Congress (now at an all-time low), the com­mit­tee’s stub­born se­crecy and pre­dictable wrist-slap pun­ish­ments (see “Ran­gel, Char­lie”) only make mat­ters worse.

I’ve said it be­fore, and I’ll say it again: House-soil­ers can’t be clean­ers. Vot­ers, not Wash­ing­ton politi­cians, are the ultimate ethics com­mit­tee.

Michelle Malkin is the au­thor of “Cul­ture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies”.

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