This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Jan LaRue was published June 9, 2011 on Townhall.com.
After 10 days of playing the victim of computer hacking, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) admitted Monday that he lied about sending lewd photos of himself to women he met online. He said that he is “deeply ashamed” and accepts responsibility for his “actions,” but will not resign from Congress, claiming that he “didn’t violate any laws or congressional rules.”
Instead of urging Weiner to resign, as several other Democrats have done, Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), former Queen of Clean Swamps, referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee to determine “whether Weiner misused government resources or broke any congressional rules.”
It should be easy, given Weiner’s admissions, to prove that his conduct violates the Code of Ethics for Government Service and House Ethics, which require, among other things, that any person in government service should:
Adhere to the highest moral principles.
Weiner has admitted lying about his conduct.
Weiner admitted sending explicit photos of himself to six women via Twitter, Facebook, email, and by telephone and engaged in sexually explicit communications with women he had met online.
After a close-up, nude photo of male genitals was posted online Wednesday, Weiner’s office issued a statement admitting that Weiner “had sent sexually explicit photos of himself,” according to the A.P.
Give a full day’s labor for a full day’s pay.
“Speaking exclusively to RadarOnline.com, [Lisa] Weiss said she shared 220 messages with Rep. Weiner beginning on August 13, last year — and they were often exchanged during work hours. In an explicit exchange on March 3 — the same day he voted on a health care bill in the U.S. House of Representatives — Weiner bemoaned that he had to end their conversation because he was ‘off to class.'”
Uphold the Constitution, laws, and legal regulations of the United States and of all governments therein and never be a party to their evasion.
The photos of Weiner’s genitalia, which he distributed through a facility of interstate commerce, meet the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of obscenity under Miller v. California, which includes “lewd exhibition of the genitals.” Distribution of obscene matter, including for personal use, is a felony under federal law, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1465.
“An official position … may not be used for personal gain.”
Weiner spoke in his official capacity from within a government office building during government time as he lied to the press and public about his conduct.
“The casino worker, [Weiss] who said she once worked as a Democratic campaign worker, also claimed, that she had steamy phone sex with Rep. Weiner — using a government telephone. Said Weiss: ‘After a while I said to Anthony, Why are writing these messages when we can just speak? I gave him my number and he called me from his office and we proceeded to talk dirty for at least 30 minutes. A few days later, I tried to call him back on that number. But the number wouldn’t connect to his office; instead there was a recorded message that it was an outgoing U.S. Congress line only.'”
Weiner probably thinks his chances are good of receiving nothing more than a censure from the House Committee, considering that the House merely “censured” Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York) in 2010 based on the House Ethics Committee finding that he had committed 11 counts of ethical violations, including tax evasion.
Weiner has indicated that he will fully cooperate with the Committee. He would do well to reconsider his refusal to resign by contemplating what some of the Founders expressed about public virtue and the indivisibility of private and public morality:
Samuel Adams: “He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.”
John Adams: “Public Virtue cannot exist in a Nation without private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics. There must be a positive Passion for the public good, the public Interest, Honour, Power and Glory, established in the Minds of the People, or there can be no Republican Government, nor any real Liberty: and this public Passion must be Superiour to all private Passions.”
George Washington: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”
James Madison: “The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.”
Thomas Jefferson: “I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man.”
Weiner should resign, and save himself, his family, and the American people the time, expense, and further humiliation of an ethics investigation. It is the only way he can reduce his shame deficit and “accept responsibility for his actions.”