Mollohan: first Federal subpoena issued

According to the Posttoday,

The FBI has notified [Mollohan's] nonprofit organizations that they will be subpoenaed soon and, according to Mollohan, a subpoena has already been served on a D.C. real estate company in which he has invested. In addition, Mollohan plans to divulge that he misstated on House financial disclosure forms the amount of loans and income from some of his real estate holdings.

We're a long way from a indictment, miles away from a conviction, on any serious criminal count. (I suspect that the misdisclosure which Mollohan admits to, depending on circumstances, might be trivial or might not be.)

But, as I've said before, the GOP have already banked a nugget from the Mollohan farrago: the question What did Pelosi suspect and when did she suspect it?

And that's bad enough.

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Ethics: Democrats Chide Their Own, GOP Cheers Theirs

On one hand we have the Democrats...

As you may have already seen or heard, on Sunday House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for an ethics investigation of one of her own fellow Democrats during her appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press". While this was not an entirely controversial move as Congressman Jefferson, of Louisiana, has come under heat from prosecutors in regard to allegations that he profited from his office, it nevertheless signalled that the Democrats are serious about cleaning up Washington -- even if it means shedding their caucus of loyal, though corrupt, members.

On the other hand we have the Republicans...

This week, a former top aide to Bob Ney, a Republican Congressman from Ohio, pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired with Jack Abramoff to help bribe his then-boss. The response from Republicans towards the revelation about Ney was markedly different than that of Pelosi to charges about Jefferson. Patrick O'Connor has the story for The Hill.

House Republicans gave Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) a standing ovation after he told them yesterday that he has no plans to resign and will vigorously fend off a likely federal indictment.

It's almost as if the Republicans are trying to make the Democrats' jobs easier this year, that they themselves want to make the case to voters that the GOP is wholly corrupt. Why else would they give a standing ovation to a Congressman who is under such legal scrutiny?

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Nancy Pelosi: Investigate Congressman Jefferson (D-LA)

You can watch the video of Leader Pelosi getting stuck with difficult questions about Democrat William Jefferson.  The transcript for the first question is here:

Q: Congresswoman Pelosi, you are standing in front of a sign that says "Honest Leadership, Open Government."  Your party has also take up the mantra of the culture of corruption, pointing the finger at the GOP.  And yet yesterday, [a businessman] plead guilty to bribing [Congressman Jefferson] for $400,000.  A couple weeks ago, Congressman Mollohan stepped aside from the Ethic Committee while his name is under investigation.  Do you think that perhaps you have to change the sign?

Ms. Pelosi.  No.  The sign is truer than ever.  A culture of corruption is a system in this Congress of the United States that the Republicans have instituted.  The Washington Post has called it a "criminal enterprise operating out of" the Republican Leader's office.  It is about all the Republican Caucus enabling their Caucus to have a strong link to the lobbying community at the expense of America's consumers.

In the case of Mr. Jefferson, I think the Ethics Committee should investigate him.  It is his private matter, and he should be investigated because of the stories that have been in the press and the guilty plea that you mentioned yesterday.  That is his business; that's not ours.

Holding our own accountable is what progressives do.  We don't assume our own personal virtue, we hold ourselves to it.  I'm not a fan of how ethics has been handled by House Democrats, and I wish Pelosi had done this earlier.  But there's no rallying around Jefferson here, merely contempt for one member's abuse of power.  

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Hold Congress to the same ethical standards as our troops

Today, the House passed H.R. 4975, a sham ethics plan that gives us election-year window dressing instead of real reform.

As Joe said today, "There needs to be full transparency in all relationships between members and lobbyists. In the military, there are extraordinarily strict rules that regulate all contact with individuals or institutions that have an interest in defense programs. Why shouldn't Congress be held to the same standards?"

Instead, this Republican House of Representatives - and Joe's opponent, Curt Weldon - turned what started out as a much needed effort to reform ethics on Capital Hill into what Joe called "a watered-down piece of legislation that fails to address the real issues."

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Civil Disobedience, Thoreau, Anti-Iraq War Tax Resisters, Mary McCarthy ©

On income tax day, I was wandering about and discovered a post that brought me joy.  Steven Josselson, of Troubled Times: An Online Journal of Policy and Politics, offered a commentary that I found invigorating.  It stimulated my mind.  

The topic was, "Refusing to Pay Taxes: Civil Disobedience and the Iraq war." I read. Then I began pondering the actions of these "defiant" peace protesters.  

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