This is a cover-up, pure and simple. And the Democratic chair of the Ethics Committee, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), telephone (202) 225-4695, was a willing party to it. Sickening.
Independent ethics watchdog CREW reveals that, in contradiction to what the House ethics report claims, House rules WERE in fact broken:
In fact, Rule XXIII of the House Ethics Manual requires all members of the House to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.” This ethics standard is considered to be “the most comprehensive provision of the code.” When this section was first adopted, the Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the 90th Congress noted that it was included within the Code to deal with “flagrant” violations of the law that reflect on “Congress as a whole,” and that might otherwise go unpunished. This rule has been relied on by the Ethics Committee in numerous prior cases in which the Committee found unethical conduct including: engaging in sexual relationships with congressional pages as well as the failure to report campaign contributions, making false statements to the Committee, criminal convictions for bribery, or accepting illegal gratuities, and accepting gifts from persons with interest in legislation in violation of the then gift rule.
Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, stated today, “The fact that when faced with such egregious facts, the ethics committee did not find that so much as a single person acted in a manner that does not reflect creditably on the House just goes to show how utterly ineffectual the ethics committee is.” Sloan continued, “This report is proof positive that the ethics committee is incapable of handling allegations of wrongdoing. To restore the public’s confidence in the congressional ethics process, the new Congress should immediately move to create an Office of Public Integrity to handle complaints against members of Congress.”