Harman/Alcee Hastings brouhaha bubbling up

Updating my pieces yesterday and on Monday - it now seems that Harman is refusing to go quietly from her position as top Dem on the HIC.

(The fact that the Dems are looking daily more likely to control the 110th House naturally has nothing to do with it!)

The LA Times has her push-back.

The Pelosi camp's talk about this being a routine rotation of personnel is debunked: the rotation rule doesn't apply to the chairman or ranking member.

And we're reminded that the 9/11 Commission

was harshly critical of congressional oversight of U.S. spy agencies, and faulted term limits in particular for forcing lawmakers to leave after they had developed expertise in the arcane world of espionage.

No doubt, when Harman gets the plausible deniability sorted out, we'll be hearing some more about Alcee Hastings' interesting past...

There's more...

On Alcee Hastings, where does one start?

MyDD is nothing if not educational.

And following up my piece on Monday has been no exception.

The piece introduced (to me, at least) the fascinating story of Alcee Hastings, formerly Federal District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.

Hastings was impeached and convicted of corruption. But, by some process which I have yet to fathom, the voters of FL-23 found this episode on his CV no impediment to sending him to the US House. Several times.

Only in America!

There's more...

Committee chairmanships: the racial angle

Our friend Joe Klein has been looking forward (as are we all, natch) to a Dem-controlled 110th House, and, in particular, one or two committee chairmanships.

He starts with La Pelosi's unfortunate MtP performance the weekend before last: the part where she managed to be ineffectual yet shrill in defending her position on impeachment when challenged with John Conyer's contrary position.

Conyers, as Ranking Member of Judiciary, would naturally expect the chairmanship if the Dems took control. The tone that Pelosi took about him on MtP when Russert pointed out that Conyers was heir apparent suggested that he did not have her unalloyed admiration.

There's more...

Iran War preparations: Congressional and (?) military

We were last here on April 29 with the House's Iran Freedom Support Act (HR 282) being passed as a suspension (read: 'uncontroversial bill') 397-21.

It was pretty ugly: the sponsor of the bill (Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) was also the cheerleader for an Iranian group (the MEK) who are on the State Department terror group list.

And the numbers show there wasn't exactly stiff Dem resistance! (Guess which side Pelosi took?)

There's more...

Ethics: Democrats Chide Their Own, GOP Cheers Theirs

On one hand we have the Democrats...

As you may have already seen or heard, on Sunday House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for an ethics investigation of one of her own fellow Democrats during her appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press". While this was not an entirely controversial move as Congressman Jefferson, of Louisiana, has come under heat from prosecutors in regard to allegations that he profited from his office, it nevertheless signalled that the Democrats are serious about cleaning up Washington -- even if it means shedding their caucus of loyal, though corrupt, members.

On the other hand we have the Republicans...

This week, a former top aide to Bob Ney, a Republican Congressman from Ohio, pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired with Jack Abramoff to help bribe his then-boss. The response from Republicans towards the revelation about Ney was markedly different than that of Pelosi to charges about Jefferson. Patrick O'Connor has the story for The Hill.

House Republicans gave Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) a standing ovation after he told them yesterday that he has no plans to resign and will vigorously fend off a likely federal indictment.

It's almost as if the Republicans are trying to make the Democrats' jobs easier this year, that they themselves want to make the case to voters that the GOP is wholly corrupt. Why else would they give a standing ovation to a Congressman who is under such legal scrutiny?

There's more...

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