NOVEMBER 22, 2006
Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an outspoken critic of the so-called “Republican Culture of Corruption,” has put her weight behind some scandal-ridden nominees for House leadership positions.
Pelosi is reportedly leaning toward Rep. Alcee Hastings as the new chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Not such an intelligent choice for someone promising to clean up the Hill. Hastings is one of just six federal judges to be impeached by Congress and removed from the bench.
And why was he impeached? It would seem that Hastings was wrapped up in a 1983 scandal involving the solicitation of a $150,000 bribe in return for “favorable treatment for defendants in a racketeering case before him.” Hastings was an unindicted co-conspirator, but apparently the evidence was strong enough for Congress to kick him off the bench. (Even Nancy Pelosi voted to impeach Hastings in 1988!)
Judicial Watch wrote a letter to Pelosi last week, urging her to reject Hastings for the Intelligence position saying, “[Hastings] was elected to Congress simply does not mean he meets the high standards that might entitle him to committee leadership posts – that concern highly secret national security information.”
As we pointed out in our letter, given Hasting’s history of deceit and corruption, he wouldn’t even be allowed security clearance – and yet Pelosi wants him to chair the Intel Committee? Time magazine suggests that Pelosi’s motives are more personal. She and California Rep. Jane Harman, who is currently the committee’s highest ranking Democrat, have a rather unsettled relationship. Harman is said to have angered Pelosi and other members of her party with her support of the war in Iraq.
Pelosi’s initial decisions as House Speaker call to question her commitment to rooting out corruption in Congress. In addition to backing Hastings, Pelosi’s first choice for House Majority Leader was Iraq war critic John Murtha, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1980 “Abscam” scandal, which led to the conviction of five House members for bribery and conspiracy. Pelosi and Murtha are reportedly old friends.
It seems that Pelosi should spend a little less time playing favorites and settling personal issues and a little more time seeking out qualified and honest House members to serve in leadership positions.
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