Campaign 2010

Apr 28, 2014

Republicans’ Rule about Ethics Problems – Don’t Talk about Republicans’ Ethics Problems

When Republicans won in 2010, they promised to institute a zero-tolerance policy for ethics violations among their members. With today’s indictment of Congressman Michael Grimm, Republican leaders have shown – yet again – that their tolerance for unethical behavior in their caucus is a lot higher than zero.

The Promise

2010: Eric Cantor Pledged Zero-Tolerance on Ethics Violations. “I think that as Republicans emerge as a new governing majority, it is incumbent upon us to institute a zero-tolerance policy — that we understand there are reasons for our being fired in ‘06 and ’08. […] We cannot tolerate any ethics violations or behavior in terms of compromising the ethics that the people expect us to have as their representatives.” [YouTube, uploaded 8/10/10]

2007: Boehner Would “Not Tolerate Ethical Misconduct.” In 2007, when the House was awash in ethical misdeeds, Boehner wrote to his colleagues in a memo that he “will simply not tolerate ethical misconduct within our conference.” [Politico, 11/20/13]

The Reality

Boehner: I Haven’t Talked to Grimm. “Neither Boehner (R-Ohio) nor his top lieutenants have spoken to Grimm yet, according to senior aides, but the indictment will cause a sizable headache for the speaker and his leadership team.” [Politico, 4/27/14]

Cantor: I Haven’t Talked to Grimm. On February 13, 2012, the New York Observer’s Hunter Walker reported (via Twitter), “Cantor talking to NY1 now says he hasn't talked to Staten Island GOP Congressman Michael Grimm about the ethics allegations against him.” [, @hunterw, 2/13/12]

Cantor: I Haven’t Talked to McAllister. On April 8, 2014, Politico reported that Cantor reserved judgment on McAllister because he had not talked to him. “I’ve not had a chance to speak to the congressman, so I’m going to reserve further judgement on the question. [Politico, 4/08/14]

Walden: Had Not Talked to Radel. “Walden said he has not talked to Radel (R-Fla.) since he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession.” [Politico, 11/20/13]

Boehner: Up To Radel to Decide. The speaker’s office added that this matter was up to the courts and “Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents.” Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s offices said separately that the lawmakers “share the sentiments of the Speaker.” [Politico, 11/20/13]

Boehner: “Waiting to See” on Rivera Investigation. House Speaker John Boehner said, “We're waiting to see how this plays out," when confronted with the criminal investigation into Representative David Rivera.  [The Hill,1/26/11] 

Cantor “Refused to Comment” On Rivera Investigation. Cantor, meanwhile, has promised a “zero-tolerance policy” for GOP lawmakers caught up in the scandals. But so far, the Virginia Republican has refused to comment on the Rivera case… So at this point, Cantor will not take any stance on what should happen in the Rivera case. [Politico, 1/25/11]

Boehner Didn’t Say Much on Buchanan Investigations. Speaker John A. Boehner has not said much publicly about the ethics issues swirling around Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida, the embattled chief fund-raiser for House Republican candidates, but Mr. Boehner will standing by Mr. Buchanan’s side at a pricey fund-raising event in Sarasota this weekend. [New York Times, 2/28/12]