June 10, 2006

Stumbling out of the gate, Hare realizes he forgot to remember to resign.

Dispatch/Argus photo by Terry Herbig
Democrat congressional candidate Phil Hare said Friday he will quit his $119,000-a-year job as U.S. Rep. Lane Evans' district director rather than violate House ethics rules.

A congressional staff member who becomes a candidate to replace his or her boss must resign, according to the Campaign Booklet of the U.S. House Commitee on Standards of Official Conduct, also known as the House ethics committee.

On Thursday, a reporter raised the question that Mr. Hare could be violating House rules by campaigning while remaining an employee of Rep. Evans. Mr. Hare called a committee attorney Friday morning, who confirmed that the rules require him to resign, he said.
...
Mr. Hare said he had looked through the House Ethics Manual and assumed he could keep his job.

The campaign booklet says that congressional staffers can run for office and still work at their jobs, as long as they campaign on their own time. However, congressional staffers who are candidates to succeed their employers must quit their jobs because of a strong potential of a conflict of interest, according to ethics rules. Another concern is that a congressional campaign takes up a lot of time.

The booklet also states if a staffer is thinking about becoming a candidate to replace his or her House member, the staffer may explore the possibility of running for office without resigning. Once a staffer declares his or her candidacy, he or she needs to terminate the job, according to the rules.

Mr. Hare announced his candidacy in April after Rep. Evans decided to retire because of health problems attributed to Parkinson's disease. Rep. Evans endorsed Mr. Hare.
...
Mr. Hare originally had planned to take four weeks of vacation and to campaign at night and on the weekends.(emphasis mine)

Mr. Hare said it wasn't fair to voters to split his time between being a congressional staffer and a candidate. "I'm not sad about it," he said. "I didn't become Lane's district director for the money."
(Yeah, for only $119K a year, it couldn't be for the money. That's pocket change.)
Congressional staffers are employees of the legislative branch of the federal government. They are not subject to the Hatch Act, which forbids employees of the executive branch from running in partisan elections.
OK, have we got things figured out now? Everything set? Dare we hope for no more surprises from now until the election? Have we gotten the dumb mistakes out of the way now, or can we expect more blunders or revelations to hand the Zingoids more campaign fodder?

Beydler's not impressed.

30 Comments:

At 6/11/2006 2:47 AM, Blogger Huck Finn said...

Democracy ethics can be such Catch-22s for a guy that wants to play Congressman as badly as Hare.

If the rules are as you and Beydler describe, then Hare first (publicly) crossed the ethical line when he gave the first forum speech.

Makes me wonder if.....no, it convinces me that.....the whole saga was premeditated. He couldn't have declared candidacy to appear on a primary ballot without resigning the post, and resigning the post would have tipped his hand.

How much smoother could it get for Hare? With no real prospect of any of it negatively affecting the outcome, Hare can just shrug his shoulders, keep smiling, and press on.

No one's really asking questions. With the D/A's "investigative eye" wrongly focused on Evans' guardianship, no one will be the wiser until after the November election. No FOIA requests on the office yet?

Chickens.

 
At 6/11/2006 8:27 AM, Blogger nicodemus said...

It is likely.. but can't be proven, that this was a conspiracy. There was no way Phil could have survived an open primary; it was relatively easier to get him annointed and appointed.

I don't buy the excuse that Phil did not know that he would have to step down. A distrct director for all these years should know something like this, unless he truly is that ignorant. In which case, voters should question if they want him.

This is not without precedent.
Rep. Mark Kirk was the chief of staff for John Porter, who retired. Likewise Ray LaHood was chief of staff for Bob Michel.
If Phil knew the Illinois delegation or knew how business is done, he would remember these examples.
Remember, Phil is the guy who said that he would "have his ear to the ground". But in this case, he wanted to have it both ways and say "Gee, I didn't know".

 
At 6/11/2006 3:59 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Look carefully at this picture of Phil Hare. Now, with a little bit of barber work and a derby hat, he is a dead ringer for Oliver Hardy. This photo just screams: "WELL HERE'S ANOTHER FINE MESS YOU'VE GOTTEN US INTO !!"

 
At 6/11/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

As I've mentioned elsewhere, Phil Hare could be caught on tape doing the nasty on the RICO Courthouse lawn and still get elected to fill Evans'vacuous shoes.

 
At 6/11/2006 7:00 PM, Blogger the underground said...

How many others staffers have been working on Hares campaign while on the payroll and secretly on the clock.

 
At 6/11/2006 8:07 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

It's hardly a "blunder" and certainly not a "conspiracy.

He read the ethics manual and there wasn't any prohibition in it. It turns out that there is a rule, but published somewhere else by the committee. Is this really that out of the ordinary? First, have any of the commenters here ever looked at the damn manual? It's huge and complicated (like most government documents).

I guess I could understand some criticism if you think he should have looked harder, (although I wouldn't agree) but it's clear that commenters here have an agenda that doesn't pause for reality, and that is not understandable.

 
At 6/11/2006 10:29 PM, Blogger youngdem503 said...

for the record, it is no where printed in the House Ethics book that is handed out to each staff memeber about resigning if you run for your bosses seat.

 
At 6/12/2006 12:51 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

This goof is far from the end of the world, it's just that as far as impressions go, it's not a good way to get a campaign started.

Of course Hare can be excused for not combing through the rules and regs with a fine toothed comb, but one could also expect that in his position and with his long-time experience, the rules regarding such things might be common knowledge, as he's certainly not the first one to be in his situation. At the least, it could be expected that he'd ask someone for clarification.

Which brings me to the second thing. Isn't there someone around Hare who's supposed to be checking these things... like an attorney or something on staff?

They dropped the ball.

 
At 6/12/2006 6:52 AM, Blogger IHG said...

Yes, but what about the ethics of working on your campaign while a federal employee, or for that matter anyone's full-time employee?

Hare even made the comment, early on, that he was 'shocked that he would have to resign', indicating that until someone forced the issue, he was more than happy to campaign on the taxpayers dime (as he had been for the past 2-months - as everyone stated that he had outworked all the rest (I am certain not 100% of the effort was before 8:00 am and after 5:00 pm)).

 
At 6/12/2006 3:45 PM, Blogger illinidem said...

You know for a fact he worked while on the clock IHG? Unless you do it's irresponsible to throw around. Baseless statements, regardless of whom they are about, are unnecessary.

Like a couple of others have mentioned, that rule was not listed in the book handed out to staffers. It was an addendum available only on-line. That being said, it was a mistake by the staff not to have known this.

 
At 6/12/2006 3:52 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

The only thing "shocking" is that Phil has been making $119,000/year paid for by us taxpayers.
If Phil hasn't been able to budget a few months of living expenses out of that enormous amount, then can he be trusted to vote on the federal budget, and represent us when it comes to sound fiscal policy?? (I think we already know the answer to that)

And as far as politicking, let's stop being naive. It is a travesty that for years Phil has done political work during work hours, meddling in local politics where he had no business. Phil's job was to do Social Security casework and flag requests and paper shuffling and general constituent service - not engage in partisan politics. But the sad truth is that he did and if Lane had any backbone, he would have reined Phil in. It makes you wonder who was really in charge all this time.

 
At 6/12/2006 6:33 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

It's always easy to throw around scurrilous charges and innuendo, and if there were any Republicans in RICO that knew how to get elected, theyd be easy to disparage, too.

Problem is, it's also irresponsible and pointless. All it results in are some people saying "so and so did this" and the other side saying "no he didn't"

How about somebody start providing facts?

 
At 6/12/2006 6:36 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

No one was saying Phil had to work to survive, so accusing him of not putting some savings aside is silly.

He simply wasn't aware that he needed to resign and when.

 
At 6/12/2006 6:38 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

Forgot to mention it, but I don't think many congressional offices have attorneys on staff. Also, if you look through the house ethics manual, it presumeably has a section on campaigning, and if there isn't anything in that section prohibiting an act, then I would feel comfortable in proceeding. If, at some point, the House, or the media, or even the R's pointed it out, I would say, "thanks for pointing this out. no problem for me, i'm happy to follow the rules," maybe adding "unlike Jack Abramoff" just for giggles.

Like you said, Dope, not a good way to start a campaign, but not a bad way either. Just something that happens.

 
At 6/12/2006 7:59 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

High, agreed, there may not be an attorney on staff, but there's a few who fancy themselves advisors and insiders, and there's so damn many of them in the Dem organization that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one. I find it unfortunate that none of them gave Hare the news.

 
At 6/12/2006 9:11 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

Dope,

I think the fact that no one spotted it, (except for a reporter who is specifically paid to dig into that kind of thing).

When it comes down to it, party operatives (D and R) are usually looking to field a candidate. For all I know some of them looked at the ethic manual, too,and didnt find it either.

No one here on the blog noticed or mentioned it until after the story broke, either. It obviously wasn't something obvious.

Hare was going to take an unpaid leave of abscence anyway, as he said he couldn't do both at once. So, the only difference between his original plan and what he has to do now? Now too much.

I just don't think it's as much of an oversight as others seem to think.

 
At 6/12/2006 10:35 PM, Blogger Huck Finn said...

I think if you asked federal government (legislative or executive branch) employees (not office holders) what they know about the rules, you'd find it's a pretty widely known no-no to campaign for ANY office using gov't time while collecting the dime.

As far as speaking up before the story broke, I think it's not an accurate assessment to think that the rules weren't widely known or viewed as important just because no one spoke up.

I simply think it says that each individual either: didn't know it was not ethical (hear no evil); assumed Hare was above board and "took care of it" on his own (see no evil); or were afraid to ask (speak no evil).

I'm confident that any employee at the "HS-XX" or "GS-XX" level knows the rules. There are a few of them on the Arsenal...ask them.

I'm glad that a D/A reporter did his job and asked the question. I now hope that Hare takes it the next step to keep it above board and pays back the salary collected since he stood at the podium for the first forum.

 
At 6/13/2006 12:26 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Though it wasn't an exact fit, in a previous post(regarding a postal worker who had to resign as precinct committeeman due to the Hatch act which prohibits government employees from running for office), I raised the question of whether legislators should be able to run, since they too, were government employees.

This isn't the case, needless to say, but in response to that, commenter Nicodemus wrote:
"That's right Dope, you are onto something here. Phil Hare is a federal govt. employee. So if he plans on running for Congress, shouldn't he have to resign his current position?"

This was before the D/A asked Hare about the issue... as a matter of fact, about a day or two earlier. So in that respect, it HAD been mentioned here first.

When I saw the piece in the Dispatch, I immediately assumed that it was yet another of the many story ideas that appear here first only to find their way into the Dispatch later.

So hat's off to Nico for tipping an editor at the D/A off to tell someone to ask Hare that question.

And it suggest that politicians and others would do well to make sure they pay attention to blogs. It might have saved Hare a headache.

 
At 6/13/2006 8:42 AM, Blogger the underground said...

" Forgot to mention it, but I don't think many congressional offices have attorneys on staff"


Then you just pointed out a major mistake that Mr. Evans made. For the $119,000 Evans paid Hare he could have easily afforded to have had an attorney on staff or retainer for just such occasions.

 
At 6/13/2006 2:19 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

Jeez hi, with your "lockstep willingness to excuse and defend the indefensible", you're beginning to sound like one of those sh*t-eating sandwich eaters that Tom Tomorrow lampooned.

 
At 6/13/2006 4:50 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Whatever you say Dook.

But this isn't as bad as Cheney trying to say he lived in Wyoming in order to be on the ticket. He hadn't lived there for years, didn't pay taxes, etc. and it violates the constitution to have both presidential and vice presidential candidates from the same state.

That was our first clue that they felt the constitution was nothing but an old piece of paper they could violate at will.

This minor flub is nothing and hardly rises to the "indefensible."

 
At 6/14/2006 12:01 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

Dick Cheney? What does Dick Cheney have to do with Hare "forgetting" to resign?

Did Dick Cheney tell Hare he didn't need to resign?

Did Dick Cheney "delete" the part in the ethics handbook that said Hare needed to resign?

Is Dick Cheney running against Hare as Republican candidate for Congress in the IL 17th Dist.? Andrea must not have received the memo.

Is Dick Cheney making lame excuses for Hare?

Is this what is called "changing the subject"? Look for much more of "changing the subject" (a/k/a "Blame Bush/Republicans/sun spots, etc.") as Hare is called upon to explain his behavior and policies. Evans never took responsibility for his actions and neither will Hare.

Hey, how are those sandwiches anyway? I'd say the Bush Can Do Wrong Sandwiches are probably just as tasty as the Evans/Hare Can do No Wrong sandwiches.

Personally, I would 't know.

 
At 6/14/2006 12:01 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

Dick Cheney? What does Dick Cheney have to do with Hare "forgetting" to resign?

Did Dick Cheney tell Hare he didn't need to resign?

Did Dick Cheney "delete" the part in the ethics handbook that said Hare needed to resign?

Is Dick Cheney running against Hare as Republican candidate for Congress in the IL 17th Dist.? Andrea must not have received the memo.

Is Dick Cheney making lame excuses for Hare?

Is this what is called "changing the subject"? Look for much more of "changing the subject" (a/k/a "Blame Bush/Republicans/sun spots, etc.") as Hare is called upon to explain his behavior and policies. Evans never took responsibility for his actions and neither will Hare.

Hey, how are those sandwiches anyway? I'd say the Bush Can Do Wrong Sandwiches are probably just as tasty as the Evans/Hare Can do No Wrong sandwiches.

Personally, I would 't know.

 
At 6/14/2006 10:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Bringing up Cheney's eggregious violation of a constitutional provision which should have kept him off the ballot entirely is not "changing the subject", but simply citing an example to put Hare's minor goof in perspective.

Cheney's chicanery was blatant, premeditated, and a clear attempt to evade the constitutional provisions.

If you'll recall, aside from some minor mentions of Cheney's chicanery, no one even raised a murmur about it, even though it was a much more serious and premeditated "oversight" than Hare's, which obviously could have conceivably been an honest mistake or misunderstanding.

 
At 6/15/2006 11:33 AM, Blogger rope-a-dope said...

Hare's chicanery was blatant, premeditated, and illegal, why try to paint it any other way dope?

Folks who want to be law-makers shouldn't be law-breakers.

 
At 6/15/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

WEll, one reason for painting it a different way is that I simply don't believe it was all those things you assert it was.

Short of any proof, I can hardly see how you can say it was. I don't even see how it could be considered breaking the law, seeing as how he did what he was required to do as soon as it was brought to his attention.

He certainly hasn't been charged with any "crime" in this thing.

I think you're hyperventilating a tad too much here.

And again, not to change the subject, but for illustration purposes only. If "lawmakers shouldn't be lawbreakers", how come the president and vice-president have three DUIs between them?

Oh... I guess they're not technically "lawmakers" though. Just leaders of the free world.

 
At 6/15/2006 3:03 PM, Blogger Huck Finn said...

The question of whether candidates are 'lawbreakers' isn't the real issue.

They must first be elected.

"Should or shouldn't be lawbreakers" is up to the voters to decide, and how much that affects their decision is the real question.

In this case: Ignorance of the law doesn't excuse the act. Only the voters can do that.

 
At 6/16/2006 3:28 PM, Blogger rope-a-dope said...

hello again Inside Dope ;)

Your argument uses the "least common denominator " method of logic, and that’s a flawed method of comparison. Sure Hare is a "C" student like the President, and Hare is arrogant enough (like W) to think he can get away with breaking the law because of his position. But besides those points, I just don't get what you are trying to say. ;)

Let's be honest, just about anybody is going to look good when compared to George W Bush, even a terribly flawed candidate like Phil Hare. We all pretty much know the Bush regime lied to the country and then used those lies to start an illegal war for oil. Phil’s illegal activities are mild in comparison, that I’d freely admit.

But the fact remains Phil was supposed to have resigned his staff position the moment he announced his candidacy. Just because he hasn’t been charged with a crime (yet?), is no excuse for breaking the law.

It’s just like when Phil and company knowingly broke election and campaign laws year after year while campaigning for Lane. Phil justified his behavior breaking rules time and time again, because following the rules wasn’t as important as beating Mark Baker. Lane did win those campaigns despite some pretty egregious campaign violations - so no harm no foul?

It may not catch up to him today or tomorrow, but I don’t wan t to be represented by a man who believes he’s “above” the law, and I can’t believe that’s what you want either.

 
At 6/16/2006 7:11 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Rope-a-dope,
Ok, you win. Your tenacity on this issue has brought it down to brass tacks.

First, did Hare violate a law, or an internal House ethical guideline??

If so, what should be done? Are these sorts of things routinely prosecuted? (I doubt it, nor should they be.)

Isn't the fact that he quickly corrected the problem a mitigating factor? Kind of a "no harm, no foul" situation?

 
At 6/16/2006 7:18 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Rope-a-dope,
Ok, you win. Your tenacity on this issue has brought it down to brass tacks.

First, did Hare violate a law, or an internal House ethical guideline??

If so, what should be done? Are these sorts of things routinely prosecuted? (I doubt it, nor should they be.)

Isn't the fact that he quickly corrected the problem a mitigating factor? Kind of a "no harm, no foul" situation?

And I admit that I've only heard about the Evans supposed campaign finance violations by hearsay.

But the way I understand it, it was a pretty techincal violation, in that money that was supposed to go to one on-paper entity went to the wrong one. (I don't recall exactly)

At any rate, the story was that if Evans & Co. had chosen to stand and fight it, they probably would have prevailed.

But that the legal expenses involved were absolutely collossal, and would have been even higher than any penalty or fine.

It was one of those situations where you have to make a choice for espedience and economy or fighting for principle and losing everything.

Can any one with any solid knowledge of this situation provide some background and factual information about it?

I'd like to get it nailed down before people start writing in suggesting that Hare was directly involved in some blatant and serious money games or violations of the law.

C'mon, I'm sure someone can provide the facts surrounding this. Don't be afraid of those who don't want you to participate here.

 

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