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March 10, 2007

Will Adam Smith File for an Investigation of Hastings?

During yesterday's broadcast of "The Conversation" on KUOW Adam Smith (WA-9) said he would call for an investigation of Doc Hastings' involvement in a breach of ethics in the John McKay matter.

Smith:

A line has clearly been crossed and we need to find out who crossed it and punish them...

(quote begins at 47:08 of podcast)

But he didn't commit to actually making it official. According to Rule #14 of the House Ethics Rules, Committee Authority to Investigate -- General Policy, there are five avenues for undertaking an inquiry or investigation. Obviously, a member of the House can initiate one, but in this case CREW has already filed a complaint against Hastings. All that's needed now is for a House member to file a referral on the complainant's behalf.

Information offered as a complaint by an individual not a Member of the House is transmitted to the Commmittee, provided that a Member of the House certifies in writing that he or she believes the information is submitted in good faith and warrants the review and consideration of the Committee;

Melanie Sloan, representing CREW, also spoke on the program and she's not counting on any member of the House to go the extra mile and file the referral. She believes public statements (like Smith's) will be made decrying Hastings' behavior and that will be the end of it. The Ethics Committee has practically been rendered moot in recent years due to a tit-for-tat tantrum between the parties. Both sides are terrified that filing a complaint against a member will automatically instigate a retaliatory move by the other side. Fabulous. Democracy in action. In Sloan's words, "Rules don't matter if no one's enforcing the rules".

So, what will it take for Smith, or any other House member, to do the right thing? Under the circumstances, Hastings' continued position as ranking member of the committee is untenable, because Rule #16, Duties of Committee Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, puts all the authority for determining the merits of a complaint and forwarding it to an investigative subcommittee squarely in the hands of (chair) Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, and (ranking member) Doc Hastings.

Adam Smith should be commended for going on the record yesterday and approving of an investigation. But he should also state whether or not he intends to do anything to make sure an investigation takes place.

Adam Smith

www.house.gov/adamsmith

D.C. office

(202) 225-8901

fax: (202) 225-5893

Tacoma office

(253) 896-3775

fax: (253) 896-3789

Posted by shoephone on March 10, 2007 at 03:23 PM in National and International Politics, Taking Action | Permalink

Comments

Thanks, shoephone. I wrote Rep. Smith asking him to make the referral. If any other of his constituents want to do this, his e-mail form is at:

http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/IMA/email.shtml

Be sure to mention that CREW has filed a complaint, and that he can refer it. Also bear in mind that this is a difficult thing for a representative to do, so it's probably better to request than to demand, if you know what I mean.

Posted by: Cujo359 | Mar 10, 2007 5:02:22 PM

Keeping the pressure on is vital, even if there seems to be an unspoken agreement based on mutually assured destruction: "whatever you think you have on us, we probably also have something on you." I don't know how ethics is supposed to be enforced, or what the point is of having an ethics commission, if the standard operating procedure is to stop short of initiating an actual investigation.

Posted by: Anne | Mar 10, 2007 5:31:58 PM

There is no good reason not to file. I hope his constituents will let him know how important they think this is.

Posted by: Leslie in CA | Mar 11, 2007 1:00:19 PM

If you don't live in Smith's office, don't bother sending an email. Call him on the phone, and be adamant. Melanie Sloan is right. There's no reason to have an ethics committee if it never does anything!

Posted by: Tahoma Activist | Mar 11, 2007 2:18:08 PM

There ought to be someone in the current crop of freshman Congressmen they don't have any dirt on yet. How about contacting ALL the freshman Dems?

Posted by: op99 | Mar 11, 2007 5:15:29 PM

That's a good idea, OP. We only have incumbents in WA. What about Jerry McNerny from CA?

Posted by: shoephone | Mar 11, 2007 6:27:25 PM

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