Friday, January 30, 2009

Unvetted Conaway Appointed to House Ethics Committee

Did the House Ethics Committee, formally known as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, vet Representative Mike Conaway R-TX? Did they check into his asleep at the switch role in the National Republican Congressional Committee embezzlement? Mike caught the accounting scam after a full year as chair of the audit committee. Recall Mr. Conaway is a certified public accountant.

The West Texas Congressman couldn't tell a consistent story on the nabbing of embezzler Chris Ward. First, it was hero Mike who caught wind of a complex scheme. Then it was staffer Jeff Burton who unveiled a relatively simple, five year heist.

But there's more, if the Ethics Committee did any digging. The timing of donations by the lobbying, Albertine brothers and Mike's earmark for their radar research firm follows a pay for play pattern.

Representative Conaway will be in position to monitor any investigations. He's quite good at not responding to citizen questions. I bet he clams up similarly in his Ethics role. I'll be shocked if Mike goes after members of the NRCC Executive Committee. They failed to fulfill their basic fiduciary duties. I served on local nonprofit boards that did a better job. To think, our elected officials are supposedly talented at governance.

Update: The House passed a ban one earmarks to corporations. The story mentions Congressional earmarks as a frequent cause of Ethics investigations. It remains to be seen if the Senate will do likewise.

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