Printer Friendly

Let me say this about that...

LET ME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT . . .

No historian was there to record Wayne Hays's initial response to the bomb Elizabeth Ray dropped down his pants the morning of May 23, 1976, but we can safely assume a minute-long groan and immediate, all-day loss of appetite. The chesty, well-traversed blond had told all to The Washington Post. Hays was giving her a $14,000 federal salary in exchange for twice-weekly "sexual services.' Ostensibly a secretary, she admitted: "I can't type. I can't file. I can't even answer the phone.' Ray even let a reporter listen in as the Ohio congressman told her on the phone that his recent marriage (to another former secretary) would not affect their arrangement.

A lesser man might have crawled back in bed for a week, but Hays had no time for self-indulgence. Knowing his version of "Honey, I can explain' would have to play in front of hundreds of thousands of voters, he sprang into action. There was no denying that Ray was on the payroll, but he denied everything else. "Hell's fire,' he roared, "I'm a happily married man!' On day two he admitted to having had dinner with Ray the previous Monday but insisted his reasons were strictly humanitarian: ". . . she called me, said she had no money, was hungry, and was going to commit suicide.' The next day he said Ray was crazy, fired her, accused the Post of "engaging in a personal vendetta' against him, threatened a huge libel suit, and tearfully described the "anguish' these false accusations were causing his new bride. The next day he dropped the lawsuit idea during an emotional "confession' in the House chamber. Admitting to a "personal relationship' with Ray, he denied she was paid for sex, said he originally had lied only "to protect his wife,' accused the Justice Department of pursuing "a personal vendetta' against him, and "demanded' that the House ethics committee conduct a full investigation of the matter.

"Her lies must be laid bare,' he sputtered, "to protect the integrity of the House.' Ray, he insisted, was angry because he had ended their affair when he married. Now she was engaging in-- that's right--a "personal vendetta.'

To the untrained eye, Hays's actions must have seemed like the crazed, mindless flailings of an old man whose sap had risen too far. But the longtime readers of The Washington Monthly knew that, to the contrary, Hays was flawlessly "wiggling' out of trouble, using a set of 13 steps first described here by veteran Congress-watcher James Boyd in September 1970. (See chart, opposite page.) In a bravura flurry, Hays managed to invoke Rules 1, 2, 6, 9 (three times), 10, and 11.

Was it working? I think so. Hays's confession was greeted with an exultation of snickers in the House, but back home the voters favorably compared his performance to Richard Nixon's careersaving "Checkers' speech. Yes, it is true: Hays's wiggle ultimately failed. Stripped of his power by House members who were gleefully paying him back for 28 years of obnoxious browbeating, he resigned the following September. Yet, had he held firm, he might well have been reelected. The man had failed, not the rules.

But was it really that simple? When I first read Boyd's masterwork, I was stunned by the clarity and uncanny correctness of his advice as it applied to 1960s-era congressional scandals. Still, the sixties were long ago. I wondered: Could these dusty old precepts possibly apply in a post-Watergate world filled with congressmen and senators whose deeds make Adam Clayton Powell look like a harmless practical joker? To find out, I studied a representative sample of congressional scandals that occurred between Wilbur Mills's 1974 Tidal Basin splash and the recent "frequent flyer' case of Rep. Dan Daniel. Admittedly, my work is not comprehensive. There have been more than 50 noteworthy congressional scandals since 1970. I have, however, paused at all the major low points: Mills, Hays, Koreagate, Abscam, plus an assortment of standard financial and sex scandals.

Overall, it is clear the rules can still work; many congressmen have used them in the past 15 years to fend off conviction and gain reelection. Yet there are two facts we must remember. One is that even a mind as fecund as Boyd's could not have foreseen all that was coming. Who except Nostradamus could have predicted that so many congressmen would one day be videotaped taking cash from phony Arabs and stuffing it in their coat and pants pockets? Or that Rep. Robert Legget would get caught keeping a wife and a mistress while carrying on a second affair with Suzi Park Thomson, all without political damage? Or that Rep. Jon Hinson, a conservative Republican from Mississippi, would win reelection after exposing himself to an undercover policeman at the Iwo Jima Memorial? Or that, given the severity of the other crimes involved, runaway boozing would become an alibi? Would he have believed it? Could he have believed it?

Today, of course, we have no choice but to believe it. In our time, the purple drama of these episodes and the increased press attention spawned by Wilburgate have pushed wiggle activity into a more advanced stage. Hence fact number two: in the post-1970 era, more congressmen were indicted, expelled, and jailed. Of the dozens of miscreants in Boyd's study, only one ended up doing a stretch. Abscam alone put several men behind bars, however briefly.

In response to these higher stakes, congressmen have concentrated more creative energy on pre-trial and courtroom antics and post-conviction damage control. The slight modifications I have made in the rules merely reflect these and oher new realities.

Rule 1: Admit notbing until you know the worst; if it looks like a one-shot affair, hide till it blows over.

Hunkering down and shutting up can still work. Though Koreagate wasn't exactly a "one-shot affair'--the investigation dragged on for months--several congressmen survived it precisely because, as Boyd put it in describing earlier scandals, "they did not rush forward to testify and clear their names' when the scandal hit the papers. Despite Leon Jaworski's best efforts, the Koreagate investigation was a bust. The Korean government refused to cooperate, and there was nothing we could do about it but whine. Investigators were able to track the cash outlays of Korean rice broker Tongsun Park, but former Ambassador Kim Dong Jo never did reveal where his huge payments went. As Robert Boettcher wrote in Gifts of Deceit, ". . . there are congressmen who must get up every morning thankful for the stonewalling Park regime.'

The Koreagate revelations sent only one congressman to jail: California Rep. Richard Hanna. According to Otto Passman's bribery, conspiracy, and fraud indictment, the Louisiana congressman received $213,000 from Park. But with artful stage-managing, Passman managed to get his trial moved to his hometown, where he was acquitted by a friendly jury that deliberated all of 90 minutes. By the time Park implicated Reps. Cornelius Gallagher and William Minshall, in 1978, the five-year statute of limitations on their cases had run out. Three other members who had lied about cash donations from Park were "reprimanded' in 1978. After seeing how easily other offenders got off, Hanna lamented that his guilty plea had been "foolish.'

Accused of punching and kneeing a 19-year-old female cashier at an Arlington, Virginia bar brawl in 1979, future Abscam convict Michael O. "Ozzie' Myers used the rule with skill. When informed of two separate warrants for his arrest, Myers blithely replied, "I saw a little pushin' and shovin', but I didn't see no fight.' Aside from some pro forma complaining about "media sensationalism,' Myers kept his mouth shut. The matter was settled quietly. He pleaded no contest and the charges were dropped.

Later, this time panicked by Abscam's damaging videotapes, Myers devalued the rule with clumsy usage. Indicted while running for reelection, Myers said he hoped "the big lapse in time' between the initial Abscam stories and his reelection primary would cause voters "to forget about it.' The rule was designed to be lived, Ozzie, not discussed.

Furthermore, the rule prescribes silence, not robotic denial. On October 9, 1974--a watershed date in wiggle history--it was reported that a drunken and bleeding Wilbur Mills was one of five people in a car pulled over for speeding "with its lights off' near the Tidal Basin and that stipper Anabell Batistella (a.k.a. Fanne Foxe) had scampered away from police and jumped in the water. He would eventually self-destruct, but Mills was reelected in November. He began his wiggle with a limp by having a staff spokesman say: "Rep. Mills was not in the car, and he knows nothing about the incident.' People were still laughing the next day when Mills said he was in the car, that Fanne and her husband Eduardo were "old friends of the family,' and that his wife would have been with them but she had just broken her foot. The mashed foot, a brilliant sympathy ploy that should have been delivered after an appropriate period of seclusion, was wasted.

Silence can be overdone, of course. In 1978, as charge after rancid charge piled up at the door of Rep. Frederick Richmond--on everything from shady campaign contributions to drug buying to helping an escaped fugitive land a congressional job--he did nothing more than hide out and issue retreaded versions of the same statement: "There is nothing to respond to.' He was still muttering something to that effect when his cell door slammed shut in 1982.

Rule 2: If you must speak out--confess to what is known, evade what is unknown, and cry.

In its classic form, this rule requires what Boyd called "a bogus public confession of the no-longer-hideable,' a la Nixon and Hays. One young prodigy, conservative Mississippi Rep. Jon Hinson, used it in 1980 to do what no man would have thought possible: win reelection in Mississippi after being busted for homosexual solicitation.

Hinson's masterstroke was to call a press conference at which he "revealed' he was one of the servivors of a 1977 fire at Cinema Follies, a Washington gay bar. In fact, the whole bucket of worms was already headed for the papers, and Hinson knew it. "I must be totally frank,' he told a group of puzzled, madly scribbling reporters in Jackson, Mississippi. Hinson admitted to being "accused of committing' an obscene act in Arlington in 1976, though he wouldn't say what it was. (He had exposed himself to an undercover policeman.) Standing with his wife, Cynthia, he said gravely: "We feel some comfort in being able in a complete sense to put these incidents behind us--finally.' Hinson's bold gambit worked. The locals stood behind him. One wealthy backer said: "There are folks that think we would rather have a queer conservative than a macho, all-man liberal, and they may be right.'

Hinson was reelected, and he served until he was caught performing oral sodomy on a Library of Congress employee in a bathroom stall in the Longworth House Office Building.

In 1978, before he got ham-handed, Rep. Richmond used this rule expertly. A few steps ahead of his arraignment on a morals charge and a Jack Anderson column containing the more loathesome details, he mailed a "Dear Neighbor' letter to his Brooklyn constituents, telling all. He had solicited a young man and, later, an undercover police officer. Richmond agreed "to seek professional treatment' and the charges were dropped. Back home, according to The New York Times, the man on the street applauded his "frankness and truthfulness.' He was reelected easily in November.

Rule 3: If at all possible, give the money back.

In 1984, when his role in the sale of Washington's Hay-Adams hotel threatened to blow up in his face, Senator Howard Metzenbaum handled it like a pro. (Metzenbaum had to act quickly--he was still in the thick of leading the Senate investigation into Edwin Meese's funny loans.) The hotel's Cleveland owner, a long-time friend of Metzenbaum and a frequent campaign contributor, said the senator had "precipitated' the sale by telling him that the Murdock Company was interested in the property. For a flip through his Rolodex and one phone call, Metzenbaum got a $250,000 "finder's fee.' Still insisting the transaction was legal and ethical, he returned the money. "I have been in public life long enough to know that reality and perception can easily be confused,' he said.

More recently, Virginia Rep. Dan Daniel used this rule. In February, the House ethics committee said Daniel violated House rules by accepting at least 68, and possibly 200, free flights from Beech Aircraft Corp. while urging the Pentagon to buy Beech airplanes. But because Daniel reimbursed the company when the matter surfaced, the committee obligingly (and unanimously) voted not to penalize him.

When he learned of his pending indictment in Abscam, Rep. Richard Kelly returned his $25,000 bribe to the FBI, making much noise about the fact that "there was only $174 gone.' He said he was holding on to the money as part of his own investigation into "shady' Capitol Hill goingson. Unfortunately, this time it didn't work. He was convicted.

Rule 4 (replaces old rule 4): Hold a legal-defense fundraiser.

Boyd's quickie exoneration from a respected source' is not used much anymore, probably because it's not particularly useful when, as is often the case, one's problems are already in the hands of a grand jury. I recommend a new emphasis on the handy legal-defense fundraiser. There are two basic types: celebrity-packed and constituent-packed, both with worthwhile features.

a) They can be lucrative. Rep. Charles Diggs Jr., accused of padding his staff's salaries and then requiring them to pay his bills, netted $26,000 from two fundraisers in 1978.

b) They provide an invaluable forum for righteous chest-beating and, more important, touching statements from Ma and Pa constituents. "Even if he goes to prison,' said a certain "Sister Gertrude' at a $50-a-plate dinner for Rep. "Dapper' Dan Flood in 1978, "I'd still vote for him as long as he runs.'

c) To avoid "media persecution' charges, the press is obliged to report on all these mawkish, misleading testimonials.

A caveat: Do not over-produce these benefits. In another fundraiser for Rep. Flood, who by then was up to his waxed moustache in a sludgepot of bribery and conspiracy charges, we find a case study of what not to do. Flood's friend, William A. Reishtein, set up a double reception at the Treadway Motor Inn near Wilkes-Barre. Ten-dollar contributors were shunted into one room, where they got two drinks and a swift pass at a skimpy buffet table, while Lefty and the Polka Chaps played "The Beer Barrel Polka.' One-hundred-dollar contributors in another, larger room got the Lee Vincent Orchestra. Reishtein expected 30,000 to 40,000 supporters, but only 61 showed up. Why? Reishtein blamed the excellence of his plans. Because the local radio stations had been talking all day about the huge crowds expected, people were frightened and stayed away.

Rep. Diggs's first benefit provides a better model. Held at the Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., the guests included Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, Jesse Jackson, Rep. Charles Rangel, and D.C. Delegate Walter Fauntroy. The food, like the guests and atmosphere, was quietly toney. While sipping white wine and nibbling on canapes, the guests (and reporters) heard stirring

renditions of the two major Diggs defense themes: Diggs was a very nice man of impeccable personal character, and Diggs was a victim of racist scapegoating.

"The name "Adam' kept popping up,' a Post reporter wrote. "The invocation of this name symbolized a widespread feeling, shared by many in the white minority among those present, that the indictment of Diggs was part of a pattern familiar from the downfall of Adam Clayton Powell in the late sixties.'

"We are living in very perilous times,' said Rep. Relph Metcalfe. "I've been investigated; many black leaders have been investigated. If you think history can't repeat itself, you are sadly mistaken.'

True, every other black in Congress was not under investigation at that time, and yes, Diggs was eventually convicted by a jury with 11 black members, but forget the "facts' for a moment and give this tactic the admiration it deserves. Diggs had launched his defense with the pomp of a major campaign rally.

No doubt about it, Diggs had style. He persuaded Coretta Scott King and Andrew Young to testify as character witnesses at his trial, and Gerald Ford offered to send a videotaped testimonial from Palm Springs, but the judge wouldn't allow it. (A shame. Just imagine Ford saying, "Charlie, I couldn't be there for your trial, but I just want you to know . . ..') Even the prosecuting attorney admitted: "If this were a testimonial dinner, we could all applaud Congressman Diggs for his accomplishments.'

Rule 5: Use the "stranger-in-paradise' routine.

Boyd pointed out that "people accept the fact that politicians, like movie actors, live in a world where fantastic things happen.' Rep. Diggs invoked this one when he fobbed off his $101,000 in kickbacks as "friendly loans,' describing one employee's largesse as "just her willingness to help me out.' Diggs's attempt was a little bald. Style is important with this rule; it's best to have someone else give the "good friend' quotes while you act as a silent sympathy magnet.

Any congressman could have benefited from attending the stranger-in-paradise clinic put on by Edwin Meese during his confirmation hearings in 1984. After a year-long investigation of Meese's tangled finances, the Senate Judiciary Committee more or less threw up its hands and sighed "Yeah . . . okay' to the argument that there was nothing unusual about so many of Meese's friends winding up with government jobs after giving him low- and no-interest loans. After all, who besides these senators were in a better position to understand that Meese moves in a magical world where banks give fourth mortgages to borrowers who have already missed 34 payments on three earlier loans? "I didn't have any special consideration,' Meese told the committee, and nobody laughed.

When Rep. Bill Boner of Tennessee entered Congress in 1979, his only asset was half-interest in a piece of property worth $15,000. Since then he has managed to acquire holdings, mainly in real estate, worth more than $2 million. The secret? Two Nashville Tennessean reporters who have been following the story for months discovered that Boner's friends are people who care about people. Gary Price, a Nashville real-estate developer, gave Boner 5 percent interest in an $18 million hotel for the low, low investment price of $5. For $50, another buddy gave Boner 5 percent interest in a Shoney's in Richmond, Virginia. Price said the good deal came about simply because Boner "means a lot to me.' Sniff.

Rule 5a: Say it was all a misunderstanding-- or a joke.

Rep. Myers insisted that the joke was on the Arabs, that he had no intention of "doing anything' in return for the $50,000 bribe he took. "Keep in mind,' his defense attorney said, "the only thing he ever did was take the fat Arab's money.'

"It seemed like a chance to pick up some easy money,' Myers added, nostalgically invoking Rule 5. "It seemed like a fairy tale.'

Senator Harrison Williams clearly used this rule when he implied that the phony Arab sheik who offered him $50,000 was just a nice, lonely guy who did not understand American folkways and wanted to make friends. "It was all baloney,' Williams said of a tape that showed him agreeing to use his influence with the White House to get contracts for a titanium mining venture in which he would have hidden interest. "If I'd given thought to what they were really saying, as I am now, I certainly would have had to throw up my hands and say, "Forget the whole thing.''

Rule 6 (replaces old rule 6, incorporates rules 7 and 8): When the situation begins to deteriorate rapidly, try a combination of these techniques: feigned illness, seclusion, hospitalization, and religious awakening. Emerge flanked by a preacher and your wife and state your determination to overcome your personal problems and the government's sneaky attack. Do not forget to emphasize that you are now fully cured.

The centerpiece of the modern wiggle is the dramatic show of fall and redemption. Though it is best to give a prolonged, comprehensive performance, isolated scenes also work well at any stage of the game.

Three days after the Tidal Basin episode, Wilbur Mills called in sick. Right after he appeared on stage with Fanne Fox at Boston's Pilgrim Theater, he checked into Bethesda Naval Hospital for "exhaustion' treatments. Not long after that, his staff announced he had a serious drinking problem.

As soon as he finished his morals charge plea, Rep. Richmond leaped into an idling car and sped off to seclusion. As quickly as possible after his Longworth arrest, Rep. Hinson checked into Sibley Memorial Hospital for "counseling and treatment' for "dissociative reactions brought on by the intense emotional and physical exertion' of two years in Congress and his reelection campaign.

When reports of his 1977 visits to a Des Moines health club offering "nude encounters' hit the papers, Senator Roger Jepsen admitted the incident, saying it occurred just before he made a permanent "comment to Christ.'

Reps. Mills, Robert Bauman, John Jenrette, Myers, Richmond, and Flood are just a few of the congressmen who have blamed their problems on alcoholism. As soon as Abscam was made public, Jenrette packed himself off for the six-week cure at Bethesda Naval Hospital with the announcement: "Mr. Jenrette is confident that he will overcome his illness. He reaffirms that he is a candidate for reelection.' Myers blamed his trouble on "two 16-ounce glasses' of "FBI bourbon.' "I'm really getting under the weather there,' he said, while watching himself discuss bribes on tape. "What can I say about it? It's embarrassing even to watch it.'

During his first trial (which ended in a mistrial), Rep. Flood presented himself as a teetotaling family man. Later, trying to avoid a second trial, he suddenly became a walking medicine chest with a "decade-long' dependence on barbiturates, Valium, Sinequan, Demerol, opiates, and alcohol. At a competency hearing, his physician testified: "I think he can understand the nature of the charges, but I'm not sure he understands the ramifications.'

This list could go on and on and on. But let us pause to savor the complete act of a single desperate man. In 1980, Rep. Bauman, a right-wing conservative who had done quite a bit of gay-bashing in his day, was caught soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy one month before his re-election bid.

The dizzying pace of his attempt to prove that alcoholism had "driven him' to do it was foreshadowed by this all-bases-covered reaction quote from the state chairman of the Maryland Republican party: "Wow! I didn't know anything about it. I'm shocked. It's sad. I'm glad he's over the illness, or at least on the road to recovery. I just hope the people of the 1st District will understand he's been through his own private hell and will remember his service to them and return him to Congress.'

After pleading innocent and agreeing to enter a court-supervised program for first offenders, Bauman proclaimed that his problems stemmed from "acute alcoholism.' His statement was a dense masterpiece of phony mea culpa: "Last winter my drinking problem reached what I now realize to be the stage of acute alcoholism, although I did not know it at the time.' With the help of his wife, family priest, doctor, and Alcoholics Anonymous, he said, "my own alcoholism is now under control and sobriety restored. Equally important, I have confessed my sins, as my religion requires, and I am in the state of grace and will remain so with the help of God.'

Vexed by statements from his family doctor and several friends who said he hardly drank at all, Bauman went into seclusion and reemerged several days later in his homestown church.

Then came the true challenge: Bauman had to convince voters that, while alcohol had rendered him completely powerless in terms of his personal actions (indeed, he did not remember them), it had not affected his performance as a legislator. This one was like walking through a minefield in snowshoes. Bauman said he had "such an allergic reaction to alcohol' that even a small amount was enough to convert him to a boystarved Mr. Hyde. "Even a little beer could trigger the change,' he said. Yet, at the same time, "my personal conduct had nothing to do with my office conduct as a member of Congress. The drinking occurred away from my office duties and did not impair my work.'

By now Bauman was confident enough to lash out at his always-unnamed accusers. "I should be judged on my record, not on my personal life!' "Months ago I overcame my twin compulsions-- alcoholism and homosexual tendencies--only to have them reemerge [in the form of accusations] months later!' Vowing never to return to "the personal hell' he created, he predicted victory. "Quite simply,' a backer said, "he is one of the more courageous men I have ever known.'

An inspired try. Unfortunately, only 48 percent of the voters bought it.

Rule 7 (formerly rule 9): It's time to pick a scapegoat.

Just as important today as in Boyd's time. In addition to racists, unseen accusers, and midnight assassins, the classic choices include:

a) The media. It is required that every pol in trouble snarl that "the blood-lusting media' are out to get him. Hyperbole is mandatory. "It is political suicide to criticize the press in this country,' said Senator Edward Brooke in response to reports that he had illegally taken several thousand dollars in income-tax exemptions by claiming two married daughters as dependents, "but I will risk it.' Rep. Hinson said "a few members of the press' (the ones who kept asking for specifics about his morals charge) were engaging in "journalistic terrorism, vilification, and speculation which offends every concept of human decency.'

b) The opposition party, or political opponents in general. No matter when it occurs, most politicians note that their indictment was mysteriously "timed' to harm their reelection chances. A Flood backer blamed "jealous' members who disagreed with the congressman's views on the Panama Canal. Rep. Diggs said of his primary opponents: "Opponents? Yes, I have opponents. They are like wolves! They taste blood because they know the devil is after me.'

c) Your own accusers. In a technique that anticipated John De Lorean's successful defense, the Abscam defendants all focused on Melvin Weinberg, a convicted con man whom the FBI used in its fake scenarios. It didn't make sense, but one thrust of the Myers defense was that Weinberg was pulling his own "sting' of the FBI and that he had "conned' the agency and the defendants into "play acting' in his "phony drama.'

Rule 8 (formerly rule 12): Claim constitutional immunity.

The issues involved here are slightly weightier than former Senator Jepsen's claim that "congressional immunity' gave him the right to drive to work alone in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. (The Constitution provides that members of Congress cannot be interfered with on their way to Washington or held accountable for anything they say on the floor.)

In 1979, citing the speech and debate clause of the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors could not use former Rep. Henry Helstoski's legislative acts as evidence in his bribery case. Helstoski was defeated in 1976 after being indicted for soliciting and accepting bribes in return for introducing private immigration bills. In 1980, when he had occasion to gloat about the dismissal of the last of the charges against him, Helstoski was serving as grants administrator for Bergen County, New Jersey.

The Adam Clayton Powell Supreme Court case established the doctrine that no person elected to Congress can be excluded for any reason other than failure to meet the requirements of age, residence, and citizenship. After his conviction on 29 counts of mail fraud and making false statemens, Rep. Diggs was easily reelected, and he remained in office until he exhausted his appeals. He finally resigned before going to jail.

When Rep. Myers became the first House member expelled since 1861, he vowed that, if reelected, he would return and demand his seat. It was clear from the Powell case that Myers would be eligible to take the oath and resume his seat. But could the House then expel him again? We don't know. Myers never made it back, and the issue became moot.

Rule 9 (formerly rule 13): During trial or impeachment proceedings, observe all the traditional formalities listed below-- but don't be afraid to improvise.

a) Never appear in public without your wife. She will file for divorce if you are convicted, but until then, do whatever it takes to persuade her to stay "on the team.' She may even manage to benefit from the arrangement. Maureen Dean, for example, parlayed this visibility into book contracts for her autobiography, Mo, and her forthcoming novel, Washington Wives.

b) Continue feigning illness. During his brief trial, former Rep. Passman entered the courtroom each day leaning on a cane and supported by his lawyers. After the favorable verdict was announced, he ditched the cane, said "I've made an amazing recovery since last night,' and joined the defense lawyers for a song and dance.

c) Dare to be different. When the prosecution confronted him with a tape of himself saying, "Money talks and bullshit walks . . . and it works that way down in Washington,' Rep. Myers replied, "I have no knowledge of it working that way down in Washington.'

d) In fact, if your case involves videotape, go for broke and try anything. Rep. Kelly contended all along that he had been conducting his own investigation of "shady characters.' "The FBI blew my case,' he screamed. "When they blew their cover, they blew mine.'

e) If convicted, continue to maintain your innocence but abandon all dignity and beg for mercy. After his conviction, Diggs's lawyers filed a brief stating that the congressman would "prefer lecturing high school students about the criminal justice system' over going to prison. The request should be granted, they said, because "there is no likelihood of further crime--the results of this trial will surely deter him from becoming involved in any similar conduct,' and because the conviction "was a particularly painful blow to Mr. Diggs's mother.'

"His misdeeds, shame, and public humiliation have been exposed in the news media all over the country,' the brief continued. "That is sufficient punishment to impose on this public official who had before this trial enjoyed an unsullied reputation.'

f) Don't despair--you won't be in jail long, and you'll probably land on your feet. Dan Flood's sea of charges eventually evaporated into a misdemeanor and one year of probation. Former Rep. Joshua Eilberg, who denied everything while running for reelection, eventually pleaded guilty to charges of illegally accepting money for helping his former law firm obtain a $14.5 million federal grant for a Philadelphia hospital. He got five years' probation and a fine.

Though he was convicted, expelled, and jailed for two years, Harrison Williams was allowed to pocket $70,000 in leftover campaign funds, and he still receives a $45,000 Senate pension.

Diggs served less than a year and moved into a temporary job with the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington. Right after he resigned, Bauman was put on the congressional payroll for two months as a $1,000-a-week consultant to the House Republican leadership. Former Rep. Jenrette sold real estate for three years before he was finally jailed. Two years after he resigned, Wayne Hays was elected to the Ohio House.

g) Stand tall. After he was expelled from the House, Rep. Myers told reporters: "I am leaving Washington and going back to America.'
COPYRIGHT 1986 Washington Monthly Company
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:what a congressmen should do after the FBI videotapes him soliciting a 10-year-old Arab sheik in the Tidal Basin
Author:Heard, Alex
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Apr 1, 1986
Words:5322
Previous Article:Whatever happened to no-fault?
Next Article:Regulations that work.
Topics:


Related Articles
He took a leap, now he's FLYING HIGH.
Cynthia Knight joins South Lane.
BRIEFLY.
FREAKISHLY LOYAL DIRECTOR JUDD APATOW HAS A CRAVING TO BRING BACK ACTORS HE'S WORKED WITH.
Battling ageism in cancer negligence cases: many people view the elderly as having little to live for and even less to offer society. Uncovering...
Dancing from the heart: for teachers at Maryland Youth Ballet, helping students with cerebral palsy experience the joy of moving was a personal...
Catwalk.
Return of the American elm: a beloved classic, long missing from city streets, is starting to make a comeback.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters