House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., and GOP leaders face reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Cantor: McAllister should go, Grimm can stay

Up until now, the double standard surrounding the Republican reaction to Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) has been focused on comparisons to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). After all, it’s tough to understand why an extra-marital kiss is more outrageous than extra-marital hookers.
 
But this week, there’s a different question pending on Capitol Hill about double standards: why Republicans want McAllister’s ouster while Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) remains.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told troubled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister (La.) that he should resign from office immediately.
 
McAllister, who only took office in November but has since become known as the “kissing congressman,” already announced on Monday that he would not run for reelection.
 
But that is not enough for Cantor, who said House Republicans should adopt a “zero tolerance” policy.
For his part, McAllister politely rebuffed Cantor’s recommendation, and he has a point. The Louisiana Republican noted that his constituents were already without a representative last year and there’s no great crisis that necessitates another vacancy in the same district now.
 
But while Cantor disagrees and wants McAllister gone immediately, the Majority Leader’s “zero tolerance” policy does not extend to Grimm, who was indicted on Monday.
 
“With Michael Grimm, he’s going to have to make his case to his constituents and make his case in court,” Cantor said.
 
If Republican leaders believe McAllister should resign immediately because he was filmed kissing a staffer – even after he’s already agreed to end his career later this year – why is Grimm a member in good standing?
 
The obvious answer is that Grimm hasn’t been convicted of anything, which is obviously true. He’s facing 20 counts of federal criminal charges, but like all defendants, he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence.
 
But there’s nevertheless a political imbalance of sorts: McAllister has been accused of an extra-marital dalliance; Grimm has been accused of impeding the IRS, conspiracy to defraud the United States, perjury, filing false tax returns, mail fraud, wire fraud, health care fraud, and the hiring of undocumented immigrants. What’s more, Grimm’s alleged campaign-finance irregularities are still facing a federal probe and may yet lead to additional charges.
 
Are we to believe McAllister’s misdeeds are more serious than the charges against Grimm? The New York Republican’s future should be in the hands of voters, but the Louisiana Republican should leave Capitol Hill today and never return?
 

Eric Cantor, House Republicans and Michael Grimm

Cantor: McAllister should go, Grimm can stay