From a New York Times editorial today titled “The House Eyes the Swamp:”
Self-investigation has never been a signature virtue of Congress. So taxpayers should closely monitor the House ethics committee’s inquiry into the lucrative relationships between defense appropriators and military contractors.
The committee finally confirmed the inquiry — not yet a full-blown investigation — into suspicions that members and staffers earmarked hundreds of millions in defense contracts for favored companies in return for tens of millions in political donations. In a separate matter, the ethics committee opened an inquiry into whether Caribbean trips taken by Representative Charles Rangel and four other lawmakers violated House gift rules. It is encouraging to see such curiosity from the traditionally somnolent panel.
We too are glad that the Ethics Committee is looking into these matters, especially since we are the source of the allegations about the Rangel-led Caribbean junket. But it will take more than “curiosity” to deal with the current wave of corruption in Congress.
The editorial continues:
The committee is being prodded to act by freshmen Democrats who were elected on promises of ethical reform. They have anxiously watched the criminal investigation into the PMA Group of lobbyists.
Of course, the New York Times can’t shake its ideological bias, even when putting Pelosi on the spot. Yes, some “freshman Democrats” have been shamed into supporting resolutions calling for investigations, but the real push has come from Republicans like Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) who have forced roll call after roll call.
The Times concludes:
The ethics panel must fully vet Congressional behavior and let the public know its findings. At stake is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s commitment to “draining the swamp” of corruption that marked the previous Republican majority. She has initiated reforms and must now ensure that the dredging goes forward.
All in all, we’ll count this editorial as a positive. Ultimately, Pelosi will be judged on whether she can truly drain the swamp. Let’s hope the New York Times can get past its politics to keep the heat on the Speaker to do just that.