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.