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WASHINGTON DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) issued the following statement today in response to comments on ethics by the Republican leadership:
“Republican leaders’ attempt to blame Democrats for the breakdown of the House Ethics Committee rivals the work of Orwell’s Big Brother in its audacious effort to make, in Orwell’s words, ‘lies sound truthful.’
“In one of their first acts of the new Congress, the Republican leadership rammed through a cynical change to the Ethics Committee rules which crippled the Committee’s ability to investigate credible allegations of impropriety against Members. The rules, which had been in operation since 1997 and were developed in a bipartisan manner, insured that partisanship would never play a role in how such allegations are considered by guaranteeing investigations would take place when the evenly divided Committee failed to act.
“The simple truth is that the Republican leadership resented the Committee’s carefully reasoned decision last year to admonish one of its own and has resolved to ensure it never happens again even as new reports raise additional ethical issues.
“House Republicans who care about the integrity of this institution should join Democrats in sponsoring a bill put forward by Ethics Committee Ranking Democrat Mollohan to restore the Committee’s ability to insure ethical and honest conduct in the House of Representatives.”