Skip to comments.Kerry Won't Be Punished For Senate Absence (by the Ethics Committee)
Posted on 08/02/2004 6:52:16 AM PDT by jmstein7
The Senate Ethics Committee rejected a complaint filed against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for continuing to draw a paycheck despite having missed most of the legislative session this year while campaigning for president. At the time of the filing, Kerry had voted only 14 times out of the Senate's 112 votes this year.
Secretary of the Senate Emily Reynolds was also named in the complaint, citing her responsibility to enforce the federal statute that requires she make deductions from a senator's paycheck for absence. In a letter to American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene, Reynolds refused to enforce the statute because her predecessors had not done so in other cases.
The complaint was filed by Hofstra law student Jonathan Stein, who accused Reynolds of willfully violating a federal statute and criticized Kerry for knowingly accepting salary to which he is not entitled.
A letter from Ethics Committee Chief Counsel Robert Walker said that Stein's complaint "lacks substantial merit." He noted that no deductions have been made in over 100 years, and "reasonable uncertainty over the continued viability" of the statute Stein says has been violated.
Following the dismissal of the complaint, Stein told Talon News, "Though this result was not unexpected, I am deeply saddened that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics has opted to put petty politics above ethics, the rule of law, and the American taxpayer."
He said that by refusing to enforce its own laws, the Ethics Committee has "shamefully abused the trust of the American people -- allowing them to be pickpocketed by Senator Kerry at will."
Stein was critical of Reynolds for failing to enforce the law.
He said, "An officer charged with a clear, unambiguous duty under the law does not legally have the discretion to ignore her mandate merely because she thinks the law is impractical."
He says that the law in this matter is "absolutely clear" and lawmakers cannot consider themselves above it.
Stein says that ignoring the law is not an option. He believes that the Senate must either enforce the statute or repeal it.
"I do not believe that the American people would take very kindly to Congress repealing a law that holds its members accountable for missing work, saving hard-earned taxpayer money," he said.
The Hofstra law student is considering alternatives to press his point.
"John Kerry and the Secretary of the Senate are guilty of presenting false claims against the United States treasury," Stein said. "If the Senate will not act to uphold the rule of law and to hold Senator Kerry and the Secretary accountable for stealing from the taxpayers, the others who support my cause and I have no choice but to turn to the Federal Courts for relief."
Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey previously called on Kerry to resign his seat, citing his dismal attendance record.
She said, "If any of us attended our job only 13 percent of the time, we'd be fired."
Healey went on to say, "It's not fair, it's not right, and the public is not being well served."
"I'm calling on John Kerry to resign so that we can fill that office with someone who is 100 percent devoted to the job of representing the people of Massachusetts," Healey added.
Keep the pressure on! The outcome is unlikely but it highlights yet another hole in the sorry record of John Forbes Kerry. I'll wager Kerry won't step down even if Mass. passes its law so their republican govenor can't appoint a republican replacement.
You tried, and gained valuable experience - for sure!!! It will be interesting to continue to see how this all will play out. Meanwhile, MOST of us know what an arrogant and condescending man John Effen Kerry is. It's true, there ARE two Americas - One for the likes of John Effen Kerry and John Edwards and another for the rest of us plebians.
Thanks for your hard work on this and for sharing it!! WELL DONE!!!
I wish we had a press that would ask him that question..
Well if Kerry is elected President, he will probably be about 13% effective as his previous Dem role-model was. No surprise there...it is amazing what the Congress can get away with, virtually at will, and in the face of other members that insist on their members obeying the law.
The framers of the Constitution did a beautiful job, except for one thing...they simply did not foresee the evolution of the "professional politician"...and the effect it would have on the government of our country.
Dang, he probably will give only 10% of his time to the presidency. He could also run for several congressional district and governor of Mass. And still be his own secretary of state and VP!!!! What a man. Did you know he was in Vietnam?
Bill O'riely loves this kind of stuff, ask the O'riely Factor to broadcast the story.
I'd love to, but I have no idea how to get in contect with him. Sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org would be futile.
New Story BUMP!
You all are missing the point. He WON three purple hearts!
Persist, persist, persist! Above all else, persist!
With young people like yourself out there, I feel good about the future of the country.
Bwahahaha... nice wording.
LOL! That was intentional - I phrased it like that for FReeper enjoyment :)
I wish I could get full pay for working an average of 5 hours a week.
This is the pits, it's not right. All of us pay his salary, and he has not served his time. President Bush campaigns, and is working at the same time.
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