The House ethics committee is currently investigating seven African-American lawmakers — more than 15 percent of the total in the House. And an eighth black member, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), would be under investigation if the Justice Department hadn’t asked the committee to stand down.
Not a single white lawmaker is currently the subject of a full-scale ethics committee probe.
The ethics committee declined to respond to questions about the racial disparity, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus are wary of talking about it on the record. But privately, some black members are outraged — and see in the numbers a worrisome trend in the actions of ethics watchdogs on and off Capitol Hill.
The situation reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who has a boyfriend of "mixed race." The two of them were stopped because a headlight on their car was out. When the policeman walked up to the car, he smelled the distinctive odor of weed. He asked to search the car and found .... more weed. This acquaintance complained that the whole incident occurred because he boyfriend was black . . . a fact that the policeman probably did not know when he stopped them, because it was at night. Never mind that they were driving with a headlight out in a car where the boyfriend had recently smoked pot.
If the Congressional Black Caucus or any other group wants to read racism into these ethics complaints, I'm sure they will. Of course, the fact that will be lost is that if they don't want to have the ethics investigations, they could always ..... you know .... OBEY THE RULES.
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