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Gingerich Ethics Code Violation

January 21, 1997

House Ethics Committee recommends to full House reprimand and $300k fine. Nancy Johnson (Rep CT) Chair Ethics Committee. Didn’t receive harsher penalties such as Censure, which require give up Speaker or Expulsion from House, or lesser penalties as Letter of Reproval. Highlights of Ethics Committee Hearings. More highlights on January 20 broadcast: Cole case against Gingerich.
AG recaps Cole’s case from pg 39 spec counsel report: Gingerich movement to develop and disseminate political message (Democratic welfare society replaced by Republican opportunity society) and professionalize House Republicans as the heart of reforming American civilization, with Gingerich as defined in the Republican documents "advocate of civilization and definer of civ, teacher of rules of civilization, arouser of those who form civ, organizer of pro-civ activists, and leader of civ forces" Movement to be supported by GOPAC, international Republican organizations with materials disseminated through college lectures by Gingerich that would be broadcast and distributed as video recording to groups that could recruit members to Republican party

Lamar Smith (REP TX) defends Gingerich. Only dissenting vote. Faith of American people in gov rely on estab principles "penalty proportion to wrongdoing" "public criticism mitigates sanction" "equal justice under law"—on supreme court building. 3rd follow precedent. Precedents for reprimand knowingly made false statements. NO precedent reprimand no finding false stmtnts. Mitigating factors: no finding tax law broken, only House rule violated. Says G admitted stepping up to line of illegality, doesn’t admit illegality.

Tom Sawyer (DEM OH) Ethics important when lines not clear. Ethical people don’t seek to gain advantage from uncertainty of blurred lines.

AG interviews Nancy Pelosi (DEM CA) (House Ethics Committee and House Ethics Subcommittee that investigated Gingerich )at Emily’s List function (Emily’s List is Democratic group that gives money to Pro-Choice, Democratic candidates around country) Pelosi: Bipartisan penalties reflect gravity of admitted violations. Report reveals Gingerich plans. Nancy Johnson violated rules that had been agreed upon; says Johnson’s unilateral cancellation of hearings should be investigated. Removed case against Gingerich from public view and limited clearer picture of case to a one hour brief summary late on the Friday before inauguration. AG summary: Today, House, for first time in history, will vote to reprimand Speaker of House. NYT reports 3 instances Gingerich discrediting Congress (House Rule 4.1): 2 instances failure to seek and follow legal advice regarding conduct of 501c3 tax deductible organization and one instance supplying Ethics Committee with untrue information.

Guests: Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), member of House Ethics Subcommittee (taped interview)

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