New proposed House GOP rules being voted on this week mandate that if a Republican lawmaker gets indicted “for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed” they have to step down from their committee assignment or their leadership posting.
Those rules were written specifically for Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, and as a result of the messy fight that took place before Hunter and Collins agreed to vacate committee assignments following indictments for campaign finance fraud and insider trading respectively.
The new rules also require members of House GOP leadership to “step aside” if indicted for a similar felony. The changes that are part of the package of rules GOP lawmakers will vote on may be viewed here.
Hunter’s official website continues to list his status as a member of the House Armed Services, Education and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
Like a lot of what Hunter says, that’s wrong. He got pushed out of his committee assignments in August and like the little piggy in the nursery rhyme cried “wee wee wee” all the way home.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s efforts to punish Collins and Hunter in August descended into ugly public sniping before the two shamed legislators caved and resigned their committee posts – temporarily, both said. Hunter initially refused but later told Ryan he would step down amid pressure from the caucus and a plan by the speaker’s office to force out Hunter via vote by a special House panel. The new rules would make this state of affairs permanent.
Hunter and his wife are accused of improperly using hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars as a personal slush fund for expenses including family vacations and dental work. The five-term incumbent is also accused of filing false campaign reports and wire fraud.
Collins was indicted in a Manhattan federal court in August on insider-trading charges. He is accused of tipping off his son to the results of a failed drug trial at an Australian biotech company — thus helping Cameron Collins escape up to $768,000 in losses.
The new rules would give House Republicans statutory powers in their efforts to oust indicted lawmakers from leadership positions within the chamber, and could lead to fewer public clashes between House GOP leaders and rank-and-file members facing legal troubles.