A senior House Democratic aide dismissed any criticism of the chairman as "smears by the Republicans." What else can the Dems say? His wife was a crooked politician -- but he didn't know it? If this were four years ago, and the wife of a Judiciary Committee chairman beholden to GOP capo Tom DeLay were sentenced to 37 months on a bribery charge as prosecutors charged she pocketed some $69,500 in illicit cash as a public official, this would be a big story -- whether the cheap-o chairman tried to fob his better half's legal bills on taxpayers or not.
It should be a big story now. When Pelosi took over as speaker, she said, "There is no question that the ethics process in the last couple of years has lost the confidence of the American people." She promised reform. But she publicly stood by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., until he resigned as Ways and Means Committee chair after an ethics committee scolding.
Last week her spokesman, Drew Hammill, said that Conyers' position as chairman "is based on his respected leadership in the House."
Maybe Conyers is respected in Pelosi's House. But that only means Pelosi should get out of the House more often.