January 07, 2007
A Question For Lawyers:
Nine days ago, the incoming chairman of the
House Judiciary committee,
John Conyers, promised to stop using his
congressional staff as personal servants and campaign aides, something he had been doing for
years. (Here's the
statement from the House ethics
committee and here's my
post on the scandal, with the
Now the question for lawyers: Assuming that the description of these abuses is correct,
did Congressman Conyers break any laws, as well as House rules? (The statement of House ethics
committee implies that he did, but does not recommend prosecution, which is why I ask.)
Bonus question, which you don't need to be a lawyer to answer: Would this scandal have gotten
more attention if Congressman Conyers were a Republican?
Posted by Jim Miller at January 07, 2007
03:14 PM | Email This
1. Jim, I saw this stroy about a week ago and you are dead on about the lack of traction it got in the MSM. Notice the timing of the release of the story. It was released in the middle of the Christmas Holiday break when most of the regular's in the MSM and the New Media are on vacation.
2. I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. The answer is: Yes, of course.
The idea that one must be a lawyer to know what the law says is deeply offensive. If that's the case, then non-lawyers have no responsibility to obey the law.
The only laws I've seen referenced that Conyers might have violated are USC 31 Sec. 1301 and USC 18 Sec. 606, neither of which strikes me as particularly impressive ammunition against Conyers.
The answer to your second question is, "Well, duh."
4. USC 31 Sec. 1301 and USC 18 Sec. 606 do not apply to 1)democrats and 2)black democrats.
Who was responsible for the Dec 29 release date of the report and why didn't the Ethics Committee seek harser punishment?
I suppose you'd have to ask Chairman Doc Hastings or the other Republican members who made up the majority of the committee. Or, you could ask the Republican leadership of the Republican majority 110th Congress, under which the Conyers investigation and ruling were conducted.
That darn GOP -- always covering up for Dems!
Scottd - Actually, the Republicans do not have a majority on the committee; it is split 5-5 between the parties. (Here's the Wikipedia entry
, for those who want to know more.)
So any committee action requires at least some measure of bipartisanship.
I'll just add that I saw (or heard?) a report that the Republicans wanted to do more but were unable to get a single Democrat to support them.
If you read my post, you will find my explanation for the December 29th date.
(i corrected two mistakes in this comment , after I first posted it -- if you are wondering.)
This is as much a moral and ethical problem as it is a purely legal question. Some actions may be ruled legal, but they still may be both immoral and unethical.
Conyers just happens to be Black, but more important he is one of the elites. Elites are often characterized by a sense of entitlement and a view that rules apply to everyone but them. Note the number of elites against public school choice who send their children to private school.
It is probably correct that this story is not getting the ink in the MSM or whatever they are called because they have an agenda. They don't want questions asked about ethics or morality regarding elites of either party because they are moral relativists and they don't want their own behavior questioned. Further, secular progressives thrive by having a permanent victim class. Many of them are leaders solely because there is a permanent victim class. These includes not only "leaders" of color, but others. I believe it was last year that one group helping the homeless was considering going out of business because in order to receive funds they had to provide identification information about the clients they served. I'm sure many of the "leaders" had a roof over their heads, but their ideology prevented them from helping someone without a roof over their head. My point is, stories like this are a mix of ideology and elite entitlement.
As I have said many times, secular progressive ideology has pretty much destroyed the Black community. The moral relativism that will probably let Conyers skate is part of that ideology. Slowly, there are a number of leaders out there, who don't get much air time are urging their flock to get back to the basics of what helped Black people survive in the past. Those basics are church and family.
Sadly, Conyers, Jackson, and Sharpton are not part of that solution.
"Would this scandal have gotten more attention if Congressman Conyers were a Republican?"
Absolutely without a doubt YES. As it is, it would not fit the leftist agenda the press tries to put out, so we had to learn about this via blogs like Michelle Malkin's. Thanks for mentioning it.
I was particularly shocked to learn on her blog that he would force his staff members to LIVE in his house and care for his kids while his wife attended law school. I don't know why these people didn't blow the whistle sooner on him.
9. The reason that people didn't blow the whistle on him was they depended on the job for their livelihood and possibly for future job recommendations. That is why I categorized my reply in the form of what is immoral and unethical. How much support does the typical "whistleblower" get? Some may eventually receive compensation, but many go through many lean years. The staff probably did a cost benefit analysis, kept getting their checks and left when opportune to do so. Secular progressive ideology, no matter what the color has a real cost to society.
10. A culture of corruption.
And yet, this guy is still on the judiciary committee? Malkin reported that his wife actually was practicing law from OUT OF HIS CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE! What's up with THAT? And YET he's re-elected.
11. As another example of relatavism, I certainly can't remember a great deal of print media coverage of Murtha being caught on tape agreeing to future bribes, or of Jefferson being caught with $90K in his freezer from payoffs. Or Harry Reid's Abrahamoff connections, or any of the many, ridiculous examples of left-sided corruption. Corruption should not be tolerated or ignored on either side, period. However, we do seem to see more coverage of R failures, and it's done with a vengeance. At the same time, we see folks like Murtha and Jefferson elevated to committee chairmanships, etc., as if they had done something about which they could be proud.
Obviousy, yes, but there is more than one side to this story. It is the same old story from the media - Democrats - good, Republicans - bad.
The Dems are now in power because of the ineptness of the Republicans led by the President. In order for this cycle to be broken, the Republicans will have to be bold and stand for conservative (and not neo-conservative) causes and champion a solution to the major issues. The choice is their's. Right now, I am from Missouri and Republicans will have to show me and millions of Americans !!
13. didn't congressmen trafficant(sp) get kicked out of the house for doing the same thing???
14. The Halliburton Sculpture Park.
15. Democrats are in power now because of Republican corruption. Corrupt Democrat politicials don't have to worry about a backlash from any significant proportion of those who had supported them. Republican politicians have a harder time weathering the storm when caught because a much lower number of those whao had supported them in the past are going to give them a pass.
I don't think anyone has answered the question of whether or not what Conyers did was illegal.
And, if it was, President Bush is in charge of the AG's office, the FBI, and the FEC.
17. Here's an answer; If anyone interpreted the US Constitution the way it is supposed to be, I have no doubt that Conyers is breaking the law. But because he knows that a majority of judges interpret the Constitution as a living, breathing document - Conyers believes he can get away with it !