Friday, November 17, 2006

A Huge Democrat Scandal (That Like Most Others Sails Under the MSM Radar)

Byron York has a fascinating look at how Democrats (and their media allies) deal with their own corruption scandals in his NRO article, "Alcee Hastings, Bribery, and the House Intelligence Committee." Here's the beginning paragraphs...

Eighteen years ago, Democratic Rep. John Conyers came to believe that Alcee Hastings, at the time a federal judge in Florida, was guilty of impeachable offenses. Hastings stood accused of conspiring to take bribes, and, although it is little remembered today, Conyers served as the chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that investigated Hastings and unanimously recommended his impeachment. After the House voted 413 to 3 to impeach Hastings, Conyers went on to serve as one of the House impeachment managers who successfully argued before the Senate that Hastings should be convicted and removed from office.

Conyers was also the author of perhaps the most dramatic words to come from the entire impeachment saga. In the summer of 1988, after he had played a key role in drawing up the articles of impeachment, Conyers made a speech before the House in which suggested that some of the allegations against Hastings, the first black to serve on the federal bench in Florida, might have been racially motivated. But as troubling as he found that possibility, Conyers said those concerns did not change the facts of the case. And the facts pointed to Hastings’s guilt.

In the speech, Conyers looked back to civil-rights days, when corrupt judges sometimes twisted and ignored the law. “We did not wage that civil rights struggle merely to replace one form of judicial corruption for another,” Conyers said. “The principle of equality requires that a black public official be held to the same standard that other public officials are held to.…Just as race should never disqualify a person from office, race should never insulate a person from the consequences of wrongful conduct.”

Conyers’s argument won the day, and Hastings was removed from the bench. But that, of course, was not the end of Hastings’s public life. (The terms of his conviction did not bar him from holding a future public office.) In 1992, Hastings won a seat in the House from Florida’s 23rd District, which he still represents today. But he did not leave his past behind; today he, and the impeachment proceedings against him, are again in the news. After a feud between Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi and California Rep. Jane Harman knocked Harman out of the running to be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Hastings now stands in line to take charge. But complicating that is what investigators like John Conyers — who now is in line to chair the House Judiciary Committee — learned about Hastings back in the 1980s. Soon House Democrats will have to take a close look at the evidence in the Hastings case and decide whether a man judged unfit for the federal bench is qualified to hold one of the most sensitive positions in the U.S. government. This is what they’ll find...

Be sure to read on and see just what York reveals. You'll not read about it in your morning newspaper, that's for sure.