House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday that the Republican leader is dead set against a proposal by Sen. Barack Obama to create an independent panel to probe ethics complaints.If asked what the two most politically foolish things one could do in Washington D.C. today are, my answer would be:
Hastert's strong resistance to a plan Obama (D-Ill.) wants to make the centerpiece of his ethics crackdown puts the two Illinoisans on a collision course.
"He is against having a private investigating panel," Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean said.
"It makes no sense," Bonjean said. Instead, Hastert believes allegations of wrongdoing can be handled by members in the ethics committee -- though the House ethics committee has been dormant for the last year.
I asked Bonjean if Hastert's opposition was negotiable.
"No," he said.
- Defend the "ethics" of House Republicans, and
- Needlessly confront the most charismatic man in Congress.
There is only one rational explanation: that Hastert believes that an truly independent ethics probe would be even more politically costly to him.
Kinda makes you wonder what Denny thinks an independent ethics probe would uncover.