Our new Democratic congress isn't yet seated and a slight aroma of corruption is wafting through the halls of the congressional office buildings. This time, though it isn't coming from the Republicans.
Yes, it's the same two men who were under investigation before November's elections, Alan Mollohan and William Jefferson.
According to The Hill:
If incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and fellow leaders decide to keep Jefferson off Ways and Means, they could open themselves to charges of following a double standard by allowing Mollohan to become chairman of an Appropriations subcommittee, as he is now poised to do.
Top Democrats are dealing with questions regarding what to do about Jefferson and Mollohan at the same time that they must decide how to reward lawmakers who have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the party but find themselves with less seniority than stingier colleagues on subcommittees.
No final decisions have been made, but it seems to me that either both get their committees/subcommittees, or both do not.
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Our own Mel Watt has this to say:
Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), the chairman of the black caucus, said in an interview yesterday that Jefferson should be reinstated.
“There is no historical standard or precedent for removing someone from a committee, and … to do so disadvantages the member’s constituents; it doesn’t punish the members,” said Watt.
“I’m sure we’ll communicate our support anew, yes, and support his effort to be reinstated,” said Watt. “It’s appropriate for me as chair of CBC and for the CBC, in light of previous support, to express our opinion on the issue. I’m sure we’ll do it timely and in an appropriate way.”
While I don't like the idea that Jefferson's or Mollohan's constituents might be punished for their rep's possible wrong-doings, I also don't like the idea that two men who are facing corruptions charges/investigations could be rewarded with positions of power.
You can find contact information for Speaker Pelosi, other House Democratic leaders and the Steering Committee members who will make the decisions about chairmanships here. Please contact them and share with them your feelings. If you think we should seat them on their committees, but make their chairmanships contingent upon the settlement of their respective investigations, please tell our House leaders. If you think both or either of these men should be denied their leadership positions, please tell our House leaders.
They need to hear from us.