WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement regarding the report released late last night that publicly admonished Majority Leader Tom DeLay for his conduct surrounding the vote on the controversial Medicare Prescription Drug Bill:
"Since Representative Nick Smith charged that members of his party offered 'bribes' in return for his support of the controversial and partisan Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, I have called upon the House Committee of Standards of Official Conduct to review these very serious allegations. On January 20, 2004, I wrote a formal letter to the Speaker describing the reasons why the Committee should act.
"While I am pleased that the Committee agreed that these very serious allegations merited investigation, I am disturbed that it did in the end find cause to publicly admonish Majority Leader Tom DeLay and two Republican Members for their 'improper' conduct.
"The credibility, character, and trustworthiness of the House of Representatives stem from the behavior of those who are elected to serve in it. When any Member comports him or herself in an ethically dubious manner, it hurts the institution, those who serve in it and most importantly the American people.
"The outrageous conduct around the three-hour Medicare vote and other pending allegations of unethical behavior that have clouded the Majority Leader's office are a source of concern for Americans and Members of Congress. I look forward to seeing all of them resolved after full and fair investigations.
"The Committee's report makes clear that this is another example of careful and calculated planning by the Republican Leadership to force Members, state officials, and private sector interests to bend to their will. The coercion of Nick Smith unfortunately is just part of the pattern of actions which seek to undermine the democratic process, and the independence of both Members and the private sector.
"From the K Street Project, to stealing files from the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats, to Republican Members who have been offered million dollar jobs from corporations that have benefited from legislation, the Republican Party's questionable behavior will eventually escort them from power."