November 15, 2006

Questions Surround Speaker Pelosi's Choice For House Majority Leader

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Democratic-leaning watchdog group, accused Pelosi of compromising her ethical standards by endorsing Murtha.

Murtha has fought charges for years of using his senior status on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee to award favors to campaign contributors. He voted against a Democratic package of ethics reforms earlier this year

CBS News reporter Allison Davis

Representative Hoyer's supporters are reviving accounts of Murtha's less-than-decisive rejection of a bribe in the 1980 Abscam FBI sting operation. More recently, Murtha has battled allegations that he may have accepted favors from defense contractors.

Most immediately, Murtha's opposition to ethics reform, including past brushes with ethics issues, open Pelosi to charges that she hasn't heard voters on the importance of cleaning up the culture of corruption in Washington.

"Future House Speaker Pelosi's endorsement of Representative Murtha, one of the most unethical members of Congress, shows that she may have prioritized ethics reform merely to win votes, with no real commitment to changing the culture of corruption," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that took a lead in criticizing former GOP majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas over corruption charges.

By Gail Russell Chaddock

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