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Today, I offered my eleventh privileged resolution to hold the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress accountable for its abuse of power and ethical lapses. And for the eleventh time, the Republicans voted to shut down debate on these issues. My friends, when an innocent man is accused of a crime, he works to clear his name. He does not do everything in his power to sweep that crime under the rug.

Click here to watch (wmv)This latest move to cover up the truth killed my resolution to direct the Ethics Committee to immediately investigate the misconduct by Members of Congress and their staff connected to the criminal activity of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Two high-ranking Republican Leadership staffers have already pled guilty, revealing what the Washington Post described as a "far-reaching criminal enterprise operating out of" the Republican Leader's office, "an enterprise that helped sway legislation, influence public policy, and enrich its main players." (The Washington Post, April 1, 2006)

Unfortunately, Congressman Tom Delay's friends and allies have dismantled the Congressional ethics process. They rewrote the bipartisan rules of the Ethics Committee, removed the Chairman and other Members on the Committee who refused to cooperate, and unilaterally fired non-partisan staff and attempted to replace them with key Republican staffers in supervisory positions.  Pressure from Democrats and people like you forced the Republicans to rescind those changes.  But the Ethics Committee still remains dormant and toothless, unable to do its job and severely shaking the nation's faith in the honor and competence of the U.S. House of Representatives.

By continually denying even a debate on my privileged resolutions, the Republicans in Congress are sending a loud and clear message to the American people. And that message is this: "We can do whatever we want. The rules and laws that govern you do not apply to us. You cannot stop us. You cannot punish us. And you cannot hold us accountable."

The American people know that the Republican culture of corruption goes much deeper than Congressman DeLay. A half dozen Republican Members have been implicated in the Abramoff scandal and several others have been connected to the Cunningham scandal. The Ethics Committee must fully investigate these allegations and take this crucial first step toward restoring honor to the people's House. One man's resignation will not change the direction of the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress.  

Mark my words - their time has come. And House Democrats, together with the American people, will hold them accountable, and we will get Congress back on track to making laws instead of breaking them.

You can read and watch my privileged resolution here.

Originally posted to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 04:30 PM PDT.

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