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By Scott Tibbs, December 30th, 2004

Justice delayed is justice denied

According to the Washington Post, "the House ethics committee will investigate Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., to determine whether he violated standards of conduct when an illegally recorded telephone conversation was leaked to reporters during a committee investigation." Rep. John Boehner of Ohio had already sued McDermott in federal court. U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled that McDermott was guilty of "willful and knowing misconduct" that "rises to the level of malice." The total could go as high as $600,000.

This is good news, but is eight years too late. Does anyone really believe that the Florida couple who taped the Gingrich/Boehner conversation had "accidentally" stumbled across the conversation and just happened to have a tape recorder ready?

It's ridiculous that it took this long for McDermott's case to reach the Ethics Committee. We have a clear case of wrongdoing and a violation of privacy rights. The fact that McDermott leaked the tape to the media also created a conflict of interest.

Just a year later, supporters of President Clinton were vilifying Linda Tripp for secretly recording telephone conversations she had with Monica Lewinsky. Carolyn Gargaro explains some of the differences between Tripp and the Florida couple on the Rightgrrl web site.

I'm waiting for the Clinton supporters who vilified Tripp to use the same rhetoric against McDermott. After all, as Gargaro explains, Tripp's actions were mitigated by several factors not present in the McDermott case.

Here's hoping that justice will finally be served, and that McDermott will be harshly censured by the House Ethics Committee. For the last eight years, justice delayed was justice denied.