I guess the only question now is whether forty or more other Democratic Senators will stand up in front of the Senate Ethics Committee saying, “I am Cory Booker. No, I am Cory Booker!”
Of course, that depends entirely on whether or not the Ethics Committee even takes up the question. Thus far, all we have is a complaint filed by Judicial Watch, asking that an investigation into Booker’s violation of Senate rules be opened. (Washington Times)
A legal watchdog asked the Senate ethics committee Wednesday to open an investigation into Sen. Cory Booker after he released confidential documents during Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing last week.
Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog, said Mr. Booker’s release violates Senate rules against disclosing “secret or confidential business or proceedings.”
“Senator Booker, in an absurd invocation of ‘Spartacus,’ explicitly invited his expulsion from the Senate in his egregious violation of the rules and contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “Will the Senate assert the rule of law in the Booker case or allow mob rule to be the new standard?”
If the initial Spartacus speech wasn’t enough to drag him before the committee, they’ll have more grist for the mill shortly. Yesterday Booker released another 28 documents which were supposed to be kept shielded. That action came on the heels of Democrats sending an additional 1,278 follow-up questions to Brett Kavanaugh. That’s a total of more than all the questions submitted to every Supreme Court nominee in history combined.
From what we’ve seen thus far, none of the documents appear to be particularly remarkable, damning to the nominee or placing any aspects of national security at risk. The release is just a violation of executive privilege. That’s one executive perk which I personally feel is used overly much to being with. I still recall the media demanding a list of all of the energy company executives Dick Cheney met with during the Bush 43 administration and I thought the White House was being too secretive on that subject also.
But that’s not really the point here, is it? We can have a debate on the rules any time we like and we probably should. But at least for now, the rules are still in place. If we have a sitting Senator – particularly one who fancies himself a 2020 presidential contender – breaking those rules at his own discretion, we have a problem. The Democrats issue plenty of complaints about President Trump breaking the rules (or at least violating previously accepted norms) all the time, and Booker’s response is to jump out there and break more rules himself? Sounds to me like something the Ethics Committee should probably look into.
Of course, all of this is entirely pomp and circumstances. None of it matters because even if there’s an Ethics Committee investigation, Booker won’t be held accountable. He knows he’s not going to be ejected from the Senate. They didn’t even throw Charlie Rangel out of the House after all his tax evasion problems and ethics violations. The House and Senate combined have only ever expelled 20 people and 14 of them got the boot for joining the Confederacy. (One other Senator was expelled for aiding the British in 1797, one Congressman got the ax over Abscam in 1980 and they kicked out Traficant in 2002 for basically acting like a mob boss.)
If the Senate does anything to Booker for violating the rules, at most it will be what Rangel received. He’ll be called down into the well to have his wrist slapped with a censure and then he’ll promptly ignore it and merrily go on his way. Heck, even if he’s censured they’ll probably still take him seriously as a presidential candidate because he was #RESISTING Trump. I apologize if I sound a bit defeatist here, but we’ve been to this rodeo before. It is, as Steve Martin’s character in Leap of Faith said, all a show and strictly for the suckers.