Ethical on the Inside

Chew on this:

Timed as it was to get lost in the hullabaloo of the State of the Union address, the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning purge of the House Ethics Committee was still a pretty audacious move.

It's been known for some time that the now-outgoing Chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Rep. Joel Hefley (R) of Colorado was going to get canned for his various offenses related to the Ethics Committee's handling, be it ever so gentle, of Rep. Tom DeLay (R) of Texas. The only mystery was just when the ax would fall.

But in this case, Speaker Hastert seemed to be channeling Michael Corleone in one of his less appealing moments.

As we noted back on November 19th, three of the five Republican members of the House Ethics Committee turned out to be in the Shays Handful. Or putting it more prosaically, three of them voted against the DeLay Rule.

The three were Hefley, Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R) of Missouri and Rep. Steven LaTourette (R) of Ohio.

Hastert axed all three.

The two who toed the DeLay line -- Rep. Judy Biggert (R) of Illinois and Rep. Doc Hastings (R) of Washington -- stay. And Hastings becomes Chairman.

Could some of my friends across the aisle lay out the affirmative case for this maneuver? And could one or two of them maybe explain why it happened before dawn on the day the SOTU would eat up all the coverage? It's not that I don't want to believe your party is ethical, it's just that they're making it mighty, mighty hard to do.

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