Friday, April 23, 2004

House GOP members violate House Rules by insulting Kerry

House GOP members recently disparaged Senator Kerry on the floor of the House during formal debate. They called him 'Hanoi John', questioned his patriotism, and suggested his conduct upon return the United States from Vietnam lent aid and comfort to the enemy. These people have no shame. These louts should be properly censured lest their horrible example contaminate our political process even further with contumely and personal animus.

The House's Ethics manual provides that:

"A Member, officer, or employee of the House of Representatives shall adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the House of Representatives and to the rules of duly constituted committees thereof."

Violation of House Ethics rules mandates referral and investigation by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. The Committee members should be contacted with a demand that Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Tex.), Rep. John Kline (Minn.), Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (Calif.), and any other Members making disparaging remarks about a sitting Senator be investigated for appropriate punishment.

Such direct references to and disparagement of a sitting member of the Senate is a violation of House Rule XVII (2)(A):
"... debate may not include characterizations of Senate action or inaction, references to individual Members of the Senate, or quotations from Senate proceedings."

Such obvious water-bearing for the campaign of the President is itself a misuse and a misappropriation of the People's property; both the public broadcasting service which we provide in the House for House business, and the Hall of House itself. Rule IV 1. provides:
"The Hall of the House shall be used only for the legislative business of the House and for caucus and conference meetings of its Members, except when the House agrees to take part in any ceremonies to be observed therein. The Speaker may not entertain a motion for the suspension of this clause."

The Broadcasting services of the House, covered by Rule RV (2)(c)(1), clearly restricts such partisan use of the system:
"(c) Coverage made available under this clause, including any recording thereof
(1) may not be used for any political purpose"

This sort of campaigning is obnoxious, it alienates voters, fosters disrespect and distain for the organs of government, and simply does not accord with the dignity we must demand our public servants display while in office. The Hall of the House of the People is not a playground from which bullies can launch ad hominem attacks. What is next? Fist flights on the House floor like in the Japanese Diet or the Korean Paliament? Enough is enough. It's time to draw a line.


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