Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Members of Congress Are Judged

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Members of Congress Are Judged

Article excerpt

`ONE of the most troubling" aspects of the ethics issues that in recent years have bedeviled some members of Congress, says Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D) of Colorado, is that congressional action may be determined by whether members of Congress like or dislike the person accused. "If you're likable, it doesn't matter," Representative Schroeder says, referring to the accusations against popular past congressional figures that were not pursued very far. "And if you're not, they hang you up by your toes."

The ethics issue now hangs over House Speaker Jim Wright. Despite Representative Wright's considerable talent, says Representative Schroeder, "he obviously doesn't have the warm, fuzzy, teddy-bear thing like Tip did," referring to his enormously popular predecessor, Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill. But the basis on which Wright or any other member of Congress should be judged, Schroeder says, is conduct, not popularity.

Key to the House's ultimate judgment, she says, will be the conclusions of the House Committee on Standards of Conduct. …

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