The strange (un)ethical history of Nancy Pelosi

I'm taking a look at the Senate proceedings yesterday on the [not too much] ethics [thank you] bill S 2349.

And, while scanning the Congressional Record (page S1877), I find reprinted an article from the WSJ of September 30 1993.

Apparently, then Rep, now Sen, Inhofe (for it was he!) had introduced an amendment to some other ethics bill designed to end the then current practice of secrecy for those signing discharge petitions:

Rep. Inhofe took a big step toward ending such hypocrisy Tuesday, when Congress voted 384 to 40 for his proposal to end the secrecy of discharge petitions. Constituents will now know who's signed up for the procedures necessary to discharge a bill from committee and force a vote; Members will no longer be able to posture one way and act another on bills popular with the public but unpopular with fellow legislators. Rep. Inhofe's overwhelming majority, after the difficulty he had signing up 218 Members to discharge his own proposal, is itself testimony to the difference between smoke-filled rooms and the light of day.

This, of course, was during the mythical 103rd Congress, the last time the Dems had the trifecta (the first time since the 96th). When Gingrich was rampant, and the Dems were bleating about the filibuster just about as loudly as the GOP were a few months ago.

Who, you might ask, were the forty who courted publicity to defend the right to legislate in secret?

Some of them will have passed on - to a better place, or to lobbying firms, perhaps.

Others - not so much.

Here's the list:

Neil Abercrombie (D., Hawaii) Sanford Bishop (D., Ga.) Jack Brooks (D., Texas) Corrine Brown (D., Fla.) Bill Clay (D., Mo.) Eva Clayton (D., N.C.) B.R. Collins (D., Mich.) Cardiss Collins (D., Ill.) Buddy Darden (D., Ga.) John Dingell (D., Mich.) Don Edwards (D., Ca.) Vic Fazio (D., Ca.) Floyd Flake (D., N.Y.) William Ford (D., Mich.) Henry Gonzalez (D., Texas) Earl Hillard (D., Ala.) Ron Kink (D., Pa.) John Lewis (D., Ga.) Ron Mazzoli (D., Ky.) Cynthia McKinney (D., Ga.) Carrie Meek (D., Fla.) Joe Moakley (D., Mass.) Alan Mollohan ( D., W. Va.) John Murtha (D., Pa.) Donald Payne (D., N.J.) Nancy Pelosi (D., Ca.) J.J. Pickle (D., Texas) Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) Lucille Roybal-Allard (D., Ca.) Bobby Rush (D., Ill.) Martin Olav Sabo (D., Minn.) Neal Smith (D., Iowa) Pete Stark (D., Ca.) Esteban Torres (D., Ca.) Jolene Unsoeld (D., Wash.) Nydia Velazquez (D., N.Y.) Peter Visclosky (D., Ind.) Craig Washington (D., Texas) Mel Watt (D., N.C.) Sidney Yates (D., Ill.)

Some names are more familiar than others. But - could one possibly miss Nancy Pelosi (D., Ca.) ?

Before her valiant fight to preserve the ethics truce at all costs, she was defending the right to sign (or not sign) a discharge petition and tell her constituents nada about it.

Not a lot of people know that...

Update [2006-3-29 14:50:3 by skeptic06]:

What shines through in the 1993 contributions from leading Dems is the positively Ancien Régime level of disdain born of having controlled the House since the 72nd (the 80th and 83rd being aberrations soon remedied).

As, for instance,

"I think the whole thing stinks,'' declared Rep. John Dingell, much-feared chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. General Dingell warned that reform "means you lay the basis for the entire bypassing of the committee system.'' House Rules Committee Chairman Joe Moakley railed against an "aroused and enraged'' public that is "virtually impossible to engage in reasonable and thoughtful debate.''

These were guys who clearly thought George III had a point about revolting colonials! On the other hand,

Rep. Tim Penny, the retiring Minnesota Democrat, says it took him "only six months in Congress to realize this place doesn't operate on the level.'' In particular, he says, many Democrats are themselves upset that House leaders "rig the rules to make sure they aren't challenged on the floor.''

That's Dem House leaders he's talking about, of course.

There's more where that came from.

Just shows - what goes around comes around...

Tags: Discharge Petitions, Ethics, ethics truce, Pelosi (all tags)


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