Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Report Says Gingrich Will Face Reprimand That Lesser Penalty Would Let Him Remain Speaker

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Report Says Gingrich Will Face Reprimand That Lesser Penalty Would Let Him Remain Speaker

Article excerpt

A HOUSE ETHICS SUBCOMMITTEE has a tentative agreement to support a reprimand and other sanctions for Speaker Newt Gingrich, pending developments at a penalty hearing, sources said Thursday.

A reprimand would allow Gingrich to keep his leadership position if he gets the necessary votes for another term when he runs for re-election Tuesday.

The four-member subcommittee, which handled the investigation of Gingrich, will make a presentation at a public sanctions hearing, as will the speaker's counsel. That hearing will take place after the speaker's election Tuesday. Gingrich, who took over when the Republicans took control of the House at the start of the 104th Congress in 1995, is campaigning hard to win a second term. House Democratic Whip David Bonior, who is not on the ethics committee, said it was "inaccurate and untrue" that the subcommittee had agreed to recommend a reprimand. But other sources said a reprimand would be part of the subcommittee's recommendation - as would other sanctions. The sources said it would depend on unspecified developments at the hearing. A news report earlier said the four subcommittee members had agreed that they would recommend to the full committee that it seek a reprimand of Gingrich. Bonior, D-Mich., accused Republicans of leaking the report in "one more desperate attempt by the Republican leadership to shore up the speaker's crumbling credibility in the light of his own admission that he lied to Congress and lied to the American people." A resolution of reprimand - reserved for serious violations - falls short of a censure resolution. Both would require a vote on the floor on whether to rebuke Gingrich, R-Ga., for bringing discredit on the House. The sources said Gingrich's defense team had negotiated on the terms of the punishment as part of the speaker's admission Dec. 21 that he violated House rules. It could not be learned what other sanctions the subcommittee is supporting. Possibilities include a fine or any other punishment the panel deemed appropriate. Both a censure and a reprimand involve a vote by the full House to criticize a member's conduct. …

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