First a classroom fist fight between teachers, and now this.
Last night Republican Greg Gianforte, in a close and closely watched contest with Democrat Rob Quist to fill the open, and only, Montana Congressional seat in today’s special election, snapped and attacked Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian. You can read the account of a witness (from Fox News) here, and the recording above seems to confirm it. The aspiringg statesman was charged with misdemeanor assault.
Three newspapers, this one, this one and this one, immediately withdrew their previous endorsements of the Republican in the race.
This passage from The Missoulian’s editorial this morning is a succinct summary: Continue reading
Per The Washington Examiner:
House Republicans on Monday quietly voted to strip the independent power from an outside ethics panel established eight years ago following a string of corruption scandals, a move they made just hours before the start of the 115th Congress. A measure defanging the Office of Congressional Ethics, authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, will now be included in the House Rules package, which is poised for a Tuesday afternoon vote before the entire House.
The provision’s most important feature changes the OCE from an independent entity to a body that falls under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee, a 10-member, bipartisan committee of lawmakers that rarely hands out serious punishment. Goodlatte’s provision renames the OCE the “Office of Congressional Complaint Review,” and said the changes were needed because lawmakers have been subjected to investigations provoked by partisan outside groups.
The move was incompetent, as it is terrible public relations and undermines the public trust. I’d call it straight-up unethical as well, because it constitutes the appearance of impropriety, which is prohibited by House ethics rules already.
Then, that evil, fascist President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted…
“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it … may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS,
The House Republicans backed down, and eliminated the measure.
Observations: Continue reading
We know that our elected officials don’t think it is important for them to read the bills they vote for (or against.) That’s irresponsible, but this is illegal: as pointed out by Thomas Beck in the Wall Street Journal, both Houses of Congress, but especially the Senate, defy the most basic Parliamentary rule of all, one that is mandated in the Constitution. The requirement: having more than 50% of members present, a quorum, in order to do business.
“Congress has ignored the quorum requirement for decades, yet neither the president nor the courts has questioned the practice. The one time the Supreme Court was called upon to apply the quorum requirement was in the 1892 case of United States v. Ballin. A statute was challenged on the basis that, while a majority was present in the House when the act was passed, a majority didn’t cast votes on it. A unanimous Supreme Court explained that what matters is whether a majority is present: ‘All that the Constitution requires is the presence of a majority, and when that majority are present the power of the House arises.’ Continue reading