Saturday, July 16, 2005

Wanted: One Honest Congressman

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is looking for one honest member of the House of Representatives to file an ethics complaint regarding the antics of Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. So far, despite the fact that CREW has done all the work and drafted the 72 page formal complaint document, not a single member of the House has shown any interest in filing that complaint with the House Ethics Committee.

Granted it would be no picnic for the individual who lodges the compliant, but certainly there must be at least one Democrat or for that matter one member of the entire House of Representative who's record is clean enough to withstand the scrutiny that will follow such an act. The North County Times quotes Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director,

"If a complaint was filed against Cunningham, the person who filed it would be attacked mercilessly by Republicans and probably would also not have very many (Democratic) defenders," Sloan said. "I don't expect anyone will file it, but I am waiting to see that kind of courage from a Democrat, (or) any member who cares about the truth."
It is hard to imagine what Democrats stand to gain by their failure to hold Republicans to at least a minimal standard of ethical conduct. Yes, some of them will have to face retaliation and similar questioning, but in the end that would be good for the Congress and the country.

Congressman Cunningham has nearly 18 months left to serve in Congress. He has already made his strategy clear. Like most politicians, he is blaming the messenger. In his Thursday statement Cunningham laid the blame on the media,

“I am confident that I will be vindicated. But I will not ignore the damage to my standing in this community that has followed from those false charges, and the daily repetition of those charges in the press."
Union Tribune columnist, Logan Jenkin's sees the clear outlines of the Cunningham strategy:

From the first day, the Cunningham news story has been fixated on unrefuted facts, not unproven charges of a crime.

Cunningham has adopted the Nixonian/Clintonian tactic of blaming the media for the wide variety of deductions that citizens, as well as partisans, form when exposed to implacable facts.

Cunningham is a representative, not of the people, but of both narrow special interests and his own personal desire for gain. His behavior needs to be exposed, not hidden by his fellow members of our Congress.