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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

Senate Dems Can't Follow the Ethics Rules They Demand Others Follow

Tom Williams/Pool via AP

The Senate Judiciary Committee continued its sideshow hearing on Supreme Court ethics on Tuesday afternoon, failing to explain why its Democrat members' double-standard intended solely for Justice Clarence Thomas is somehow necessary to curb alleged corruption by him while the exact same behavior by liberal justices hasn't caused any concern. 


Beyond their sick obsession with destroying Clarence Thomas — and the Supreme Court as an institution along with him, if possible — Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are also betraying their own personal hypocrisy as many members lack the sterling ethics record their grandstanding demands. 

Here, in no particular order, are examples of some Senate Judiciary Democrats who have failed to live up to ethical standards they claim are paramount to the survival of "our Democracy."

There have been questions about Senator Dick Durbin's (D-IL) ethics after a 2014 investigation conducted by the Chicago Tribune "found instances in which Loretta Durbin's clients have received federal funding promoted by her husband, raising questions about whether the power couple have done enough to avoid inherent conflicts of interest as they go about their jobs." 

In 2009, Durbin also "sold more than $115,000 worth of stocks and mutual-fund shares and used much of the money to invest in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.," including the sale of "mutual-fund shares worth $42,696 on Sept. 19, the day after then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged congressional leaders in a closed meeting to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks."

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — still absent from the Senate Judiciary Committee but a prominent voice in the left's push to undermine the Supreme Court during her long career — has had numerous eyebrow raising situations arise. She was questioned by the FBI in 2020 after her husband dumped his shares in a biotech company just before the economy took a nosedive due to COVID. Feinstein also failed to disclose her husband's purchase of some $50,000 worth of stock in a polling company.


Her husband — a regent of the University of California — was also caught up in the college admissions scandal and named by state officials as one of the individuals who participated in a scheme "where UC wrongly admitted dozens of wealthy, mostly white students as favors to well-connected people."

And who could forget, while Democrats are harping on about allegations of improper influence, that the one-time Senate Intelligence Committee member had a Chinese Communist Party spy on her staff and by her side for almost 20 years. 

Not a new face in Democrat attempts to thwart the constitutional role of the Supreme Court, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has also had ethics issue bubble up during his tenure in the upper chamber. There were demands for an Ethics Committee review of his actions during the confirmation hearings for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, during which Booker declared himself to be "Spartacus" and made public documents provided to him on the condition they remain private and only reviewed by the senator.

In his previous gig as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Booker's actions were questioned by even The Daily Beast. "Despite having resigned from his law firm once entering the mayor’s office, Booker received annual payments until 2011, during which time the firm was profiting handsomely off of Brick City," their report on the "ugly truth" about Booker explained. Those payments, "which totaled close to $700,000," came "from his former law firm—Trenk, DiPasquale, Webster—from which he had resigned once elected mayor to avoid 'the appearance of impropriety.'"


What's more, Daily Beast's report reminded that, "after he first entered the Senate, the New Jersey comptroller alleged that under Booker’s watch—or, more likely, because he was not watching—corruption ran rampant at a publicly funded water-treatment and reservoir-management agency, where Booker’s former law partner served as counsel."

For his record, Booker received a "borderline" rating from Business Insider in its ethics rating.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has rebuffed questions about how he used to belong to a beach club that allegedly only admitted white folks, could also use some ethics training, it seems. In 2016, Whitehouse was among a group of lawmakers working on a piece of legislation "to dramatically increase the amount of federal money going into pharmaceuticals." At the same time, Whitehouse "began a series of purchases in health care stocks related to the bill in mid-November, through his own accounts and family accounts" while "negotiators were wrestling over the final version of 21st Century Cures and hoping to vote on it in a matter of weeks." 

Another questionable situation arose in 2009 when Whitehouse, who had an existing relationship with lawyer Jack McConnell, recommended his lawyer friend for nomination to the federal bench. McConnell was also, according to The Wall Street Journal, "the state Democratic Party treasurer and a major political donor" who, along with his wife, "personally donated thousands of dollars to Whitehouse's campaigns.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, in 2021, Whitehouse ran afoul of conflict of interest law by failing to disclose his acquisition of "between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of shares in both Target Corporation and Tesla Inc.," within the federally required 45-day deadline to disclose the purchase.


Another member of the Judiciary Committee who has failed to meet ethics rules and disclosure guidelines is Senator Peter Welch (D-VT). As a member of the lower chamber, then-Rep. Welch failed to disclose his wife's sale of $6,238 in ExxonMobil shares in a trade made just three days before "Welch grilled ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing."

Also as a House member, Welch faced outcry after he purchased — then sold after being called out — shares in a COVID test-making company "after attending House Intelligence Committee briefings on coronavirus in February."

In 2016, Welch was also forced to say he wouldn't take campaign donations from certain PACs after it was reported that he had "received $8,000 in campaign donations from the Comcast Corp. Political Action Committee, while cable giant Comcast’s case is pending before the Vermont Public Service Board, of which his wife is a member." He was pressured after The Associated Press "reported the PAC contributions" and Welch was criticized for needing to "do more to guard against" conflicts of interest. 

Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) has also faced scrutiny for his use of elected offices, as seen when then-California Secretary of State Padilla "awarded a $35 million no-bid contract to SKD Knickerbocker, Joe Biden's main election campaign advisory firm" in 2020. 

According to House Republicans at the time, documents "appear to show that the Secretary of State's Office attempted to inappropriately fund the contract with federal Help America Vote Act money from the CARES Act to target specific voters and encourage voting, which is a violation of the law" while media reports showed that Secretary Padilla has received $34 million worth of invoices from SKD for the voter contact contract, but the California State Controller's Office says he lacks the state budget authority to pay for it." 


That same contract drew a lawsuit in California that alleged "the office of then-Secretary of State Alex Padilla violated state regulations by allowing only a small number of 'partisan political consulting firms' to bid on the work."

Then there's Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA), who also lacks the standing Democrats seem to think they have as they demand the Supreme Court be reined in until they have the control over it they wish. Ossoff failed to initially disclose payments from a media conglomerate with minority Chinese Communist Party ownership in 2022 and had to file an amendment to make his accounting of payments correct and complete. 

On a somewhat less serious yet still improper topic, LegiStorm reported the same year that "Ossoff's campaign Twitter account, which recently linked to a website paid for by his campaign to promote his 'Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act,' is frequently linked to from his official Twitter account and has been linked to as recently as last Friday" and "Ossoff's official website also linked to his campaign Twitter account in a press release last April." But Senate rules prohibit "any linkage from a Member's official website or social media to any campaign website or social media" and says that "a Member's campaign website may not link to his or her official Senate website."

So, these Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who spent most of Tuesday slamming their proverbial fists on the dais demanding oversight of ethics rules at the Supreme Court have often run afoul or given the appearance of running afoul of ethics rules, or exhibited what the average American considers to be a conflict of interest. 


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