Skip to comments.Rep. McDermott Violated Ethics Rules
Posted on 12/12/2006 12:03:31 PM PST by Kaslin
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., violated ethics standards by giving reporters access to an illegally taped telephone call involving Republican leaders a decade ago, the House ethics committee said Monday.
McDermott, who at the time was the panel's senior Democrat, failed to meet his obligations as a committee leader, said a report released two days after Congress adjourned for the year. The panel took no action other than the report.
"Rep. McDermott's secretive disclosures to the news media . . . risked undermining the ethics process regarding" former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the committee said. It said McDermott's actions "were not consistent with the spirit of the committee's rules."
The ethics complaint stems from a tape recording made by a Florida couple, who gave it to McDermott in January 1997. The tape recorded then-Speaker Gingrich, R-Ga., in a December 1996 conference call with GOP leaders regarding a separate ethics investigation of Gingrich.
McDermott leaked the tape to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times, which published stories on the case in January 1997.
Gingrich, who was heard on the call telling House Republicans how to react to the ethics charges against him, was later fined $300,000 and reprimanded by the House.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against McDermott in a related civil case in March. The 2-1 opinion upheld a lower court ruling that McDermott had violated the rights of Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who was heard on the 1996 call. Boehner, then a Gingrich lieutenant, is now House majority leader.
The full nine-member appeals court vacated the three-judge ruling this spring and heard new arguments in the case in October. A ruling is expected next year.
McDermott, in an e-mail to The Associated Press, said he was pleased the ethics panel had concluded he did not violate overall House rules.
"I am also pleased with the committee's acknowledgment that pending litigation in the federal court will decide the question of law over the First Amendment issues involved," he said.
Because of the pending civil case, McDermott said he would not offer additional comment.
Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, a former ethics committee member who filed a complaint against McDermott in November 2004, said he was disappointed the ethics panel did not sanction McDermott.
"I'm not sure this decision reflects well upon the House as a whole or the ethics process," Hobson said.
He said he might change his long-standing support for an internal ethics panel and consider replacing it with an independent inspector general to investigate House members.
You can't be serious, McDermott resigning or Pelosi and the other rats asking him to do the honorable thing to do. Only Republicans have to follow rules
The real failure in this entire matter was the lack of investigation into the 2 Florida Democrat operatives that took the fall for this listening to phone calls. I don't believe for a minute that they just happened to hear Gingrich. Gingrich was tapped by professionals. I believed it then and I still believe it.
Fined $300,000? No way Jose. Where is that written?
Boehner sued McDermott over the issue. It seems to me he got a favorable ruling in court ...
anyone out there with an update?
Jan. 11, 2006 | Dear Editor: (Slate)
In Michael Scherer's piece ("Newt: I'm Shocked, Shocked by Abramoff Scandal!"), he falsely asserts that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was required to "pay a $300,000 penalty" for "misusing nonprofit organizations for political purposes, personally benefiting from political contributions and giving false statements to ethics investigators."
Mr. Scherer should have checked the facts first. Democrats filed 84 politically motivated ethics charges against Speaker Gingrich. All of them were found to be without merit. The last three were dismissed on Oct. 10, 1998. The fact is, not a single ethics charge filed against Speaker Gingrich was ever found to be based in fact -- not one.
During the investigation into the bogus charge of "misusing nonprofit organizations for political purposes," a letter responding to an inquiry by the Ethics Committee prepared and filed by a Gingrich lawyer did contain an inaccuracy. When Gingrich learned about the discrepancy, he personally accepted responsibility for the misstatement, corrected the record, and agreed to reimburse the Ethics Committee for the cost of that investigation.
The voluntary reimbursement did not stem from the phony charge, but was paid because of the error made by counsel during the investigation -- an investigation that concluded no wrongdoing by the speaker whatsoever and was dismissed by the bipartisan Ethics Committee as were all 84 of the other charges. It was specifically not a penalty according to the Ethics Committee agreement.
The fallout in the case resulted in an IRS investigation and a federal court case. Ultimately, Speaker Gingrich was cleared of any wrongdoing by the bipartisan Ethics Committee, the IRS and a federal judge.
So it is simply wrong to mislead readers by suggesting that Speaker Gingrich paid a fine, misused nonprofit organizations or personally benefited in any way from political contributions. The facts show that he took responsibility for an error during the investigation and reimbursed the committee from his personal funds making him extraordinarily well-qualified to be an outspoken critic on the current and very real ethics scandal.
Rick Tyler Communications Director and Spokesperson Gingrich Communications
you may be on to something here....
also.. don't forget that their media machine doesn't report on demonrats wrong doings...
They were going to get to it right after they finished viewing the evidence for the new porn warning label bill.
McDermott has distinguished himself by acting like a snake in the grass - no offense intended to snakes.
Ethics is the province of honest men and seldom visited upon the likes of Congress.
It took 10 years for the Ethics Committee to say Jimbo screwed up with no further action recommended. What a farce!
Fire the guy!
Too many like Frist have made their careers on the success of their parents. Even though they sometimes may be bright, as Frist is,academically they frequently attend the same Universities as the wealthy liberal elite of the country. With this social and academic background they often feel entitled to success and believe that their ideas have greater weight than those of their constituents. These ideas frequently lean in the same direction as their liberal alumni colleagues. They may have a conservative economic outlook but will frequently lean to the social liberal side when it comes time to show some guts and fight. In other words they feel superior to the great unwashed electorate.
This is basically my definition of a RINO.
This is also why I think we need to implement conservative affirmative action by requiring that all members of congress hire only graduates of the Universities in their state. Possibly with a requirement that they be within, say, 5 years of graduation. This way the "permanent group" of people who run Congressional offices will develop some diversity and remember where they came from. This should also be required of all committee staffs.
Speaker Gingrich, R-Ga., in a December 1996 conference call with GOP leaders
Up until eight months later when she died, the Clinton Administration was also tapping Princess Diana's cellphone......
WA State ping...JFK
this is outrageous.....it is unethical.....
what is piglosi gonna do about it????
according to piglosi....this will be the most honest & ethical congress in history!!!!
The Foley case is closed in five minutes yet it takes ten years to investigate a Democrat.