Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bass Policy Director Resigns

Tad Furtado, Charlie Bass's policy director, resigned due to extreme sockpuppetry, and also sort of because of me and NH-02 Progressive and Yankee Doodler. It's been kind of overwhelming. He clearly did wrong on several different levels, and this seems like an appropriate initial response. Apparently the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct will be looking into it; I'll be curious to see how that goes. On the one hand House Republicans have not been particularly good at disciplining their own of late; on the other, maybe because he's just a staffer he'll be the sacrificial lamb or something. So I don't know what to root for - I want a clear statement that this is unacceptable behavior, but do I want to see someone disciplined because they weren't powerful enough to intimidate their way out of it, a la Tom DeLay?

Charlie Bass has offered an apology - in a written statement to the press, mind you, not to us - and I'm not sure what to make of it. Whether or not it's sincere, it's clearly more honorable to have followed this path than the NJ Senate path of denial. But this was happening in his office, by one of his top aides, over a period of months - of more than a year if you count his Our Congress post on Bass. Whether or not he knew anything about it, this, in my opinion, speaks to an atmosphere of ethical permissiveness in the Republican party today that pervades Bass's office no matter how much he talks about his independence. This didn't happen in a vacuum. It was done by a member of the party of the New Hampshire phone jamming scandal, the party of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham. This certainly doesn't rise to the level of any of those, but it's part of a broad and disturbing pattern. Until Bass addresses that, and declares true independence from it - which he has not done - his apology is incomplete.

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