Ethics Monitors in Conflict

Interesting. It seems one ethics-monitoring group, the Legal and Policy Center, thinks Rep. Alan Mollohan’s recusal from matters relating to the FBI while he remains under FBI investigation is inadequate, while another thinks it is hunky-dory.

Rep. Mollohan was chosen Wednesday to chair the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee for Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies.

As reports, the National and Legal Policy Center, which broke the Mollohan scandal, is less than impressed by the recusal:

“To say he’s recusing himself is an insult to anyone who understands the appropriations process,” [Legal and Policy Center Chairman Ken] Boehm said. “Just the fact that he’s not going to micromanage the FBI’s budget doesn’t mean he can’t play havoc with the Justice Department budget.”When the Justice Department goes to his subcommittee – and they need all sorts of approval out of his subcommittee for other spending things and other things they want – they’re going to a man they’re investigating,” the NLPC chairman said.

But CREW sees it differently, says

…Melanie Sloan, executive director of the liberal watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), praised Mollohan “for recognizing that recusal is the appropriate course of action.””The Democrats have handled Rep. Mollohan’s ethics problem in a manner markedly different from the way the Republicans have handled such issues.” Sloan said in a statement…

…”Speaker Pelosi, who campaigned on the issue of a cleaner congress, is working hard to live up to this ideal,” Sloan added. “The question now is whether Republicans will follow her lead in dealing with their own ethically challenged members.”

Boehm counters:

Boehm agreed that “any Republicans on appropriations committees who are under investigation shouldn’t have any say-so over the Justice Department budget.””This has nothing to do with the presumption of innocence,” he said. “You also have a duty to the public and the taxpayer to run that appropriations committee in a way that inspires public integrity and not public disgust.”

“This is such an obvious conflict of interest that it’s amazing Speaker Pelosi allowed it to happen,” he said. “If Pelosi wants to do this sort of thing, it would appear to me that her promise of running ‘the most ethical Congress ever’ has already been broken.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.