House Post Office: Who Embezzled How Much?

By Istook, Ernest J. | Insight on the News, March 21, 1994 | Go to article overview

House Post Office: Who Embezzled How Much?


Istook, Ernest J., Insight on the News


Congress will have another opportunity soon to clean up its own house by compelling the House Ethics Committee to open a long-overdue probe of the House Post Office. Several members of Congress evidently used the Post Office to embezzle tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayers. It's time to do something about it.

The House Post Office affair is a continuing scandal that has never died, though many have sought to bury it. For years, the embezzlement was discussed -- and dismissed -- as only a rumor. Six postal employees have been convicted of various improprieties, but the last was the bombshell. On July 19, Robert V. Rota, postmaster for two decades, made a surprise guilty plea in federal court to three counts of conspiracy to aid embezzlement.

In the court papers, government prosecutors stated they could prove "the embezzlement of United States funds by certain United States congressmen" in the sum of tens of thousands of dollars. The court papers also described how the scheme worked: Congressmen were given cash from Post Office funds, while official records would make it look as though they had bought stamps with their office funds. But in almost eight months since then, there I ave been no indictments.

How many members of Congress were involved? Who are they? And why has nothing been done about them? The stock answer is that the Justice Department is investigating, so the House should stand aside and leave the matter alone. That answer isn't good enough, for multiple reasons: first, because :he House has an independent constitutional duty to act against internal wrongdoers; second, because it's questionable whether the Justice Department will resolve the whole mess.

The foremost job of the House Ethics Committee is to pursue major violators, not minor ones. The Constitution charges us with policing the "disorderly behavior" of our members. We cannot pass the buck to anybody else to do this for us.

In fact, when a separate House task force reviewed general postal operations in 1992, Rota lied to cover up the embezzlement scam. The task force also bristled at the suggestion from the Justice Department that Congress should leave such matters alone for prosecutors to pursue. Accusing Justice of trying to "thwart" internal probing by the House, the task force's report stated it was hampered by Justice's "intermeddling and interference with this legislative mandate."

If left to itself, would the Justice Department clean up this mess? The absence of indictments after eight months is disturbing, especially since the prosecutors at that time told the court confidently that they could prove the embezzlement. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

House Post Office: Who Embezzled How Much?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.