Hastings Might Step Down - Let's Keep the Pressure On

It appears that House Ethics Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA) is starting to feel the heat after weeks of sustained pressure by his frustrated constituents, Public Campaign Action Fund, and Washingtonians for a Cleaner Congress.

Philip Shenon of The New York Times reports that Hastings might be ready to step down as Chair of the House Ethics Committee. In recent months, the committee has been stalled on its investigation into the scandals surrounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) by disagreements over the staffing of the committee. Typically, investigations of this type are led by non-partisan staffers. It has been widely reported that Hastings is trying to fill the position with his long-time chief of staff.

The plot thickened further when Hastings ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff were made public. Hastings has accepted $14,000 in campaign contributions from Abramoff's Seattle-based lobbying firm.

Shenon quotes an anonymous Republican aide who said:

"But I think that Doc has had just about enough of this," a Republican aide said. "He doesn't need this. He'd like to find a face-saving way out."

At this point, the only way for Hastings to save face is to recuse himself from the investigation and appoint an independent counsel.

We have to keep the pressure on. Call Rep. Hastings at (509) 543-9396 or (202) 225-5816 and tell him to do the right thing and appoint an outside counsel. After you make the call, please post what kind of response you've gotten from his office.