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    10 January 2006

    Lindsey Graham Violates Rules of Senate Ethics

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    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has engaged in questionable actions as a sitting member of the Judiciary Committee in the hype surrounding the Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito. Today, at the Alito hearings Sen. Graham admitted in his opening statements:
    I don’t know what kind of vote you’re going to get, but you’ll make it through. It’s possible you could talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it. So I won’t even try to challenge you along those lines.

    It is obvious that he has already made up his mind. But for safe measure a Wall Street Journal article reports (subscription req.) that Sen. Graham participated in a "moot court session at the White House" last Thursday. There is the questionable action.

    I take this news as a Judiciary Committee member coaching the nominee. I believe we, his constituents, deserve an explanation from the Senator as to why my following claim is incorrect. Subsequently, if I am coming to the correct conclusion I would request a statement to the public as well as a punitive action appropriate in the honor and spirit of the Senate.

    I believe that the actions noted above constitute a violation of Senate ethical guidelines. The Senate Ethics Manuel states in Rule 37 (Conflicts of Interest):
    Paragraph 2 sets forth the axiom that conflicts of interest must be avoided: "No Member, officer, or employee shall engage in any outside business or professional activity or employment for compensation which is inconsistent or in conflict with the conscientious performance of official duties." The legislative history of this provision states that it "should be read to prohibit any outside activities which could represent a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest." The Committee has interpreted this paragraph to prohibit compensated employment or uncompensated positions on boards, commissions, or advisory councils where such service could create a conflict with an individual’s Senate duties due to appropriation, oversight, authorization, or legislative jurisdiction as a result of Senate duties.
    (Senate Ethics Manual, p. 66-7)

    I request Sen. Graham or a spokesperson of, clarify the events of Thursday or explain how his actions did not cross the line from "impartial evaluator" to "partisan advocate" of issue within his jurisdiction. [via Think Progress]

    Posted by Geoff

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