Shortly before House Republicans won their majority in the 2010 midterms, Eric Cantor acknowledged the GOP congressional scandals from the recent past, but said they wouldn’t be tolerated going forward.
“I think that as Republicans emerge as a new governing majority, it is incumbent upon us to institute a zero-tolerance policy,” Cantor said at the time, adding that when it comes to ethical transgressions, Republicans have “learned our lesson.”
A year and a half later, the House GOP appears to have forgotten that lesson.
Speaker John A. Boehner has not said much publicly about the ethics issues swirling around Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida, the embattled chief fund-raiser for House Republican candidates, but Mr. Boehner will [be] standing by Mr. Buchanan’s side at a pricey fund-raising event in Sarasota this weekend.
Mr. Boehner, who vowed to take a hard line on ethical transgressions as speaker, is scheduled to be the guest of honor at Saturday night’s fund-raiser at a private residence in Mr. Buchanan’s district. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported this week that donors can get their pictures taken with Mr. Boehner at a special V.I.P. reception for $10,000 a couple.
In terms of political symbolism, the planned appearance amounts to something of a vote of confidence from the House speaker for Mr. Buchanan.
For the record, Buchanan has drawn the interest of FBI investigators, the IRS, a federal grand jury, and the House Ethics Committee – all at the same time. The federal inquiries surrounding his alleged misdeeds “appear to be widening,” as allegations suggest the conservative politician’s companies “improperly reimbursed contributors to his campaigns and claimed improper tax deductions.”
Boehner not only doesn’t intend to address any of this, he also has no qualms about keeping Buchanan on as a member of the House Republican leadership and embracing him at a high-priced Florida fundraiser.
So much for “zero tolerance.”