In an extraordinary public statement, all five Republican members of the House ethics committee are calling on Democrats to schedule ethics trials for Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) before the November elections.
Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), ranking member of the committee, was joined by his four Republican colleagues on the bipartisan committee in slamming ethics committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) for not scheduling the trials.
“The chairwoman has repeatedly refused to set either the Rangel or Waters trial before the November election,” the Republicans wrote in a letter released Tuesday. “While we regret that the committee has not worked together in a bipartisan fashion to ensure the transparent and fair resolution of these matters to date, we look forward to working with the chairwoman in a bipartisan manner to accomplish this – and other important unfinished committee business – in the coming weeks.”
Bonner’s public criticism of Lofgren is a surprising move, considering the usually secretive nature of congressional ethics committees, and it opens up a divisive partisan clash over the Rangel and Waters cases. Lofgren and Bonner have been at pains since the start of the 111th Congress to play up their bipartisan cooperation on ethics cases, issuing frequent public statements highlighting their cooperation.
But Bonner and other Republicans were angered by what they characterized as backdoor talks between the Lofgren and her aides and the lawyers for Rangel shortly before the announced a 13-count “statement of violation” against him last month.
This seems a well-timed and effective bit of pre-election rhetoric. I’m just surprised we didn’t see any thing about how Lofgren ‘has the time to invite comedians to testify on immigration, but not to deal with corruption in her own caucus.’