Ethics panel chides DeLay, others on vote

Oct. 1, 2004 at 9:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. House ethics committee has admonished three lawmakers for actions during the vote on the Medicare Modernization Act last year.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct unanimously adopted its investigative subcommittee's report that chastised Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., but did not recommend further action.

The incident occurred during a three-hour voting session on the bill, which created a prescription drug benefit in Medicare. The vote was held open as Republican leaders arm-twisted members to get enough votes for passage.

The investigative report said contrary to earlier allegations by Smith, there was no attempt made by GOP leadership or anyone else to offer $100,000 to Smith's son's political campaign to entice Smith to vote for the bill.

The report said Smith's account was either exaggeration or speculation, that he failed to use proper judgment and restraint, and did not fully cooperate with the investigation.

The report found DeLay did offer to endorse Brad Smith's congressional candidacy, a possible violation of House rules.

Miller was criticized for mentioning Brad Smith's candidacy during floor debate, which the elder Smith took as a threat of retaliation if he did not vote in favor of the bill.

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