Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) told Roll Call that he “has sought to enforce a tougher ethical standard in the 110th Congress.” In an effort to prove his new committment to “ethical standards” in the House, Boehner has even forced a prominent congressman under FBI scrutiny to step down from a powerful committee seat. But despite this rhetoric of responsibility, the culture of corruption still lives on in the conservative wing of the House.
After demoting one member of his caucus for corruption, Boehner has chosen to promote and reward two other deeply corrupt congressmen.
– Doolittle out: In mid-April, the FBI searched the Virginia home of Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) as part of “its investigation into the ties of the congressman and his wife, Julie, to disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.” Soon after, he was forced to step down from his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
– Calvert replaces Doolittle: The House Republican Steering Committee voted last week to appoint Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) to Doolittle’s vacant seat. Calvert, who has a history of scandals, including extensive profiting from legislation he supported and a well-publicized escapade with a prostitute, is one of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s “20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress”
– Feeney replaces Calvert: Yesterday, Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), who was recently questioned by the FBI over his relationship to Abramoff, told the Orlando Sentinel that “he would take over as GOP leader on the space subcommittee, part of the overall House science committee.” He’s replacing Calvert, who had to abandon the position in order to accept Doolittle’s appropriations seat.
In the Boehner-approved culture of corruption, the calculus is clear: one corrupt member falling down equals two corrupt members rising up.