DCCC Goes Up on the Air Hitting Heather Wilson for Prosecutor Purge
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:01:36 AM EDT
It has been more than two weeks since GOP Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico admitted to breaking congressional ethics laws and still no member of the House, to my knowledge, has stepped forward and asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to initiate an investigation into Wilson's misdeeds. Yet now, at the least, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is moving to put pressure on Wilson for her improprieties by running a radio ad in her district. You can download the ad through the previous link or listen below:
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This is a good start, and I would like to see the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee move ahead with a similar ad targeting New Mexico's Republican Senator Pete Domenici, who is also up for reelection in 2008 and who also has admitted to breaking ethics regulations, in the hopes of cajoling him to retire, which would make it significantly easier for the Democrats to pick up his seat.
That said, for as meaningful the action has been within Congress, in terms of the hearings and subpoenas, within the House, in particular, pressure on Wilson needs to be applied within the institution and not just through the Democrats' campaign arm. As I alluded to above, for the ethics committee to open an investigation into a House member, another member of the chamber must take the assertive step of asking for an investigation, unlike in the Senate where the request of an outside group can prompt an investigation. As I've said twice already in this post (and it bears repeating a third time), Wilson has already copped to breaking ethics laws and should not be allowed to weasel out of punishment within Congress just because of the ethics truce within the House.
Truthfully, I would have liked to have seen the ethics committee move on a query of Wilson's actions before the DCCC went up with an ad. But in the absence of anyone willing to break the ethics truce in the House, I do like the move to target Wilson this early in the cycle, when the prosecutor purge scandal is fresh in voters' minds, because it is a lot cheaper and perhaps even more effective to go after her at this point in the cycle then to wait until the last month or two of the election, when most voters will be tiring of the near-constant barrage of information -- particularly with New Mexico appearing to be a swing state on the presidential level.