In a letter to the House GOP this week, House Minority Leader John Boehner lauded the election of Joseph Cao, who defeated the corrupt Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA). The future of the GOP, Boehner said, is dependent on good ethics:
The Cao victory is a symbol of our future. In the two years ahead, House Republicans will demonstrate our commitment to reform by holding ourselves to the highest possible ethical standard.
This week, Boehner seemed to be following through with the pledge, telling Rep. Don Young (R-AK) that he could no longer support him as ranking Republican on the Natural Resources Committee, leading to Young’s resignation from the post.
But the promise is already imploding. The AP reports that a panel of top House leaders picked Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) today to lead the committee. “The recommendation by the GOP Steering Committee is final under a rule change adopted Wednesday.”
Recall, Jack Abramoff once boasted of having an “excellent relationship” with Hastings, who received $14,000 from Abramoff’s firm, Preston Gates — including $1,000 from Abramoff himself. After taking control of the Ethics Committee, Hastings reportedly fired two staff lawyers involved in unanimous decisions to admonish Tom DeLay for improper fundraising. Hastings also contacted fired U.S. Attorney John McKay and attempted to pressure him in an ongoing investigation.
As ThinkProgress has documented, Boehner has a history of playing musical chairs with committee assignments for corrupt members:
Rep. Ken Calvert: The GOP Steering Committee appointed Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) to Rep. Jon Doolittle’s (R-CA) Appropriations seat, after Doolittle was the subject of an FBI investigation for his ties to Abramoff. Calvert has profited from legislation he supported and was caught in the act with a prostitute.