Saturday, September 8, 2007

On the Capitolist, I found a post that has some interesting background on those who were appointed to the special committee to investigate last month's "vote meltdown." This post could be an except from some news story (it sure sounds like it), but I don't know where it might be found:
Mostly overlooked during this week's sometimes jarring mix of news --
including deaths and an off-and-on-again Senate resignation -- was a
tale of political redemption. At issue were the appointments of House Minority Leader Boehner
to the select investigative committee that is reviewing the handling of
the Aug. 2 House vote on a Republican amendment to bar taxpayer-funded
benefits for illegal immigrants; GOP members contended that the
announced roll-call vote of 214-214 ignored late shifts that had been
recorded by the House clerk and they actually had won the vote, an
outcome that continues to rile Republicans. Two Republican members of
the investigative panel --Reps. Kenny Hulshof of Missouri and Steven LaTourette
of Ohio -- might be familiar to House ethics-monitors. Both served on
the Ethics Committee that unanimously issued "admonishments" in October
2004 against then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay for three offenses
related to his alleged abuses of power. Senior Republicans were so
incensed at the time that then-Speaker Hastert removed Hulshof and
LaTourette -- plus Ethics Chairman Joel Hefley of Colorado, who
retired last year -- when the Ethics panel was reorganized in 2005,
though no public explanation was given and the unhappy Hulshof and
LaTourette did not protest publicly. That, in turn, led to complaints
that the Republican watchdogs were punished for doing their job.
This "political redemption" may reveal some hints of a wider strategy for Boehner. By appointing Hulshof and LaTourette, who were punished for charging DeLay with certain political abuses, to positions of power, Boehner might be trying to burnish his anti-corruption credentials or at least differentiate himself from the House GOP leadership circa 2004; Hulshor and LaTourette were punished for their actions under Hastert/DeLay and stripped of their positions, but now Boehner gives them a position of influence. Is he trying to heighten/develop an Old Guard/New Guard dichotomy?
Also, this vote committee could have significant powers. Boehner might hope that men who have been willing to criticize publicly fellow Republicans might be seen as more fair-minded--and this appearance of fair-mindedness might give the recommendations of this committee more weight in the media/public.