Tag Archives: Richard Wright

Wright Calls for Hastings to Step Down as Chair of Ethics Committee

House Speaker Dennis Hastert appointed Washington State Rep Doc Hastings to Chair the House Ethics Committee. Hastert sacked the previous Chair and 3 other Republican members after they too aggressively investigated Tom DeLay. Hastert is Hasting’s boss and with the sacking he clearly sent a message to Hastings as to what he wanted him to do. Since then the committee has been pretty much inactive.

Today at 10 A.M. Hasting’s Democratic opponent, Richard Wright, is holding a press conference calling for Doc Hastings to step down as Chair of the House Ethics Committee.

You can read the press release over at McCranium.It’s good to see Wright getting more aggressive in this race.

Wright questions the unbiasedness of anyone called to impartially investigate someone, then saying. “I think the Speaker has done a great job” Um, great job at what. You can see a video clip of Hastings remarks here.

The problem is that anyone who chairs the Ethics Committee would be appointed with the approval of the Speaker. Hastings was appointed by Hastert. That’s a conflict of interest because the Speaker is part of the investigation.

The House Speaker controls the legislative future of whoever sits on that committee and everyone knows it. What is needed is the
appointment of an independent counsel. Otherwise all you are going to get is a whitewash.

Will Republican Whitewash Win Out Over Independent Investigation?

Republican Representative Doc Hastings, representing the 4th Congressional District in Eastern Washington, was personally selected by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in 2005 to head the House Ethics Committee. Hastert as House Speaker is Hastings’ boss as well as the boss of the other Republicans on the House Ethics Committee. If this isn’t a conflict of interest in investigating Hastert’s role in the Rep Mark Foley House Page scandal, I don’t know what is.

Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert is in deep trouble. He is being called to task for not responding and acting on accusations that one of his cronies, Rep. Mark Foley of Florida, was sending sexually suggestive electronic messages to underage teenage Congressional pages.

But Hastert is in charge and is pulling a fast one on the media and public. He has claimed responsibility in an attempt to stop further outrage by the public, but his initial statements are day by day being corrected and contradicted.

On Friday, the New York Times quotes a Hastert spokesman, Ron Bonjean as saying, The speaker has taken responsibility and is taking control of the situation.”

Right, taking control just like he did in 2005 when the House Ethics Committee was purged by Hastert of those Republicans who were too aggressively going after Tom DeLay who subsequently resigned.

As the Seattle PI notes:

The appearance of favoritism has dogged Hastings from his first day as chairman. Hastert, who is the central figure in the Foley investigation, selected Hastings in early 2005 to replace Chairman Joel Hefley of Utah. He also replaced three Republican members. Democrats — and even some Republicans — called it a purge of independent Republicans who might have sanctioned former Majority Leader Tom DeLay.”

And what has the Ethics Committee done since then. As the LA Times writes:

The House Ethics Committee has had little to say as one scandal after another has rocked Capitol Hill since early 2005. Now, can a panel that has been derided as a symbol of congressional dysfunction take up a tough, politically sensitive case a month before an election and produce results within weeks, as promised?
Skeptics abound.”We don’t have a lot of confidence in the Ethics Committee,” said James Benton of the public watchdog group Common Cause.”

The Seattle PI also points to the credibility issues in the current investigation.

I don’t trust Doc Hastings,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the public interest group that touched off the Foley scandal by giving transcripts of his e-mails and chats to ABC News.
Hastings was put in that role (as committee chairman) because he was loyal to the leadership. I have no doubts that the committee’s findings will hold Hastert harmless,” she said.
Sloan, along with others, has demanded that an independent counsel be named to head the investigation
. She notes that independent counsels have been named in the past to investigate former Speakers of the House Newt Gingrich and Jim Wright. Anything short of that, Sloan said, would subject the committee’s findings to charges of favoritism.

I agree. The House Republicans have shown that they are unable to police themselves. Any investigation by Republicans of Republicans at this point will only be a whitewash. Citizens need to demand an independent counsel be appointed.

Hastings is being challenged in his reelection campaign by Democrat Richard Wright.

Hastings Says Speaker Hastert Has Done "an Excellent Job."

Rep Doc Hastings knows who his boss is. It’s Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. So when your boss asks you to investigate his role in a sex scandal, what do you say?

“I think the Speaker has done an excellent job.”

See the video over at Think Progress and Hastings’ attempt to take his words back.

So what would you do if your boss asked you to investigate his role in covering up a sex scandal?

Rep Doc Hastings, represents Eastern Washington’s 4th Congressional District. Hastings was appointed to Chair the House Ethics Committee in 2005 by Hastert. The Committee has been fairly inactive since Hastings appointment after Hastert removed the previous chair and 3 other Republicans who were critical of Tom DeLay.

Hastings is being challenged in his reelection campaign by Democrat Richard Wright.