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November 10, 2006

RADLEY BALKO:

Mollahan is, to say the least, "ethically challenged." There's no sensible reason for him to retain his seat on the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives. If Nancy Pelosi is serious about "draining the swamp," she'll kick Mollohan off the appropriations committee before she pounds her first gavel.

As for Byrd, his history of earmarking excesses makes Ted Stevens look like Ron Paul. Earmarking is little more than legalized corruption. It's buying votes. Not only did Robert Byrd perfect the practice, he's the one who put a "secret hold" on a bill that wouldn't have even eliminated the practice, but would merely have added a bit of transparency to it. Democrats who rightly railed against the "Bridge to Nowhere" can't be taken seriously if they sit back and let Byrd resume diverting millions of taxpayer dollars to wasteful pork projects in West Virginia. Harry Reid should remove him from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It won't be easy -- Byrd in particular is likely to raise holy hell. But if you're going to change the culture of corruption in Washington, you'd go a long way toward demonstrating your seriousness by starting with your own party.

It would also be nice to see the lefty blogs pick up on this, and give Pelosi and Reid the cover they need to do the right thing.

UPDATE: Several readers have written to point out that Pelosi is set to pass over Rep. Jane Harman to make Rep. Alcee Hastings chair of the Intelligence Committee. Hastings is of course a formal federal judge who was impeached and removed from the bench by a Democratic Congress in 1989 for taking bribes. Apparently, the Congressional Black Caucus is demanding a chairmanship for Hastings to compensate for the loss of influence caused by Rep. William Jefferson's removal from the Appropriations Committee -- also due to corruption.

This, within 72 hours of the election. Meet the new boss...

Not the only libertarian to be suffering buyer's remorse. . . .