Kudos to CNN reporter Drew Griffin for reporting on a potential Democratic scandal that the majority of the mainstream media seems to have ignored. Griffin highlighted allegations that liberal Democratic Congressman John Conyers violated House ethics rules by ordering members of his staff to perform such non-official duties as tutoring and baby-sitting his children. These complaints of rules violations were filed against Conyers, the powerful ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, by former members of his staff. Griffin reported:
"What this is about, Soledad, is ethics on Capitol Hill and who is and who is not doing anything to investigate when members of Congress are accused themselves of violating the rules. What we found out is former staff members of Congressman John Conyers of Detroit had been complaining about him for years. One says she was expected to baby-sit the boss’ kids for weeks at a time."
The ethics complaints against Conyers were released over a month ago, and reported on in great detail by the Detroit Free Press and The Hill newspaper [via The Drudge Report.] So where has the rest of the mainstream media been on this story?
House Ethics rules on staff rights and duties states explicitly, "Congressional resources and time are to be used for official House business-not for personal or political matters, or the business of any outside organization." Griffin’s report highlights former legal counsel to the congressman, Sydney Rooks, who remarked that the violations of the ethics rules was "common."
"It was common, it was ubiquitous, and it wasn’t just me. Ok? I was the tutor, primarily, but I wasn’t the only person who got stuck with the kids for the day. I wasn’t the only person who had to take the boys to the bathroom, change a diaper or anything like that."
Conyers, as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, will serve as the committee’s chairman if the Democrats take back a majority in the House, and would oversee any congressional hearings on impeachment or censure. He introduced a resolution in the House on December 18, 2005, calling for the censure of President George W. Bush, and is calling for a select committee to investigate whether the President's "offenses" rise to the level of impeachment. This is not unusual for Conyers, however. One may recall that in 1983, Conyers was one of seven House Democrats to call for the impeachment of President Ronald Reagan for the Grenada invasion.
While I commend CNN for airing this piece, it should be noted that neither Griffin nor co-host Soledad O’Brien mentioned Conyers’ party affiliation or his influential role as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.