UPDATED - 7/29/10 3:40 PM EST
As Rep. Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, heads into the ethics committee hearing today to see what kind of violations he is being accused of, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, has been routinely criticized for a statement she made about four years ago regarding cleaning up corruption in the House, saying she was going to “drain the swamp.”
On Thursday, she made some distinctions about that statement. When asked if her original statement was solely about Republicans, Ms. Pelosi answered,
“I [was] talking about the Republican stewardship of the House. The Washington Post, I think, described it as a criminal syndicate,” she said.
She pointed out what she thought was the difference between GOP corruption in the past and today’s ethics committee hearing dealing with Mr. Rangel.
“This is completely different. Individual indiscretions are not right. They must be judged and there must be accountability and there must be transparency. It’s not to condone that. What I’m talking about is public trust in terms of passing legislation. It’s about people’s interest not a criminal syndicate.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, told reporters that he is glad to see the ethics committee doing its work now, and when asked about Ms. Pelosi’s “drain the swamp” remark, he said “The fact is, she made that statement over four years ago and the fact is, the swamp has not been drained.”