38 US Reps for Impeachment Review

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(APN) ATLANTA – US Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) became the 38th Member of the US Congress officially listed as a supporter of H. Res. 635, a bill which could lead to recommendations to impeach President Bush.

The bill, sponsored by US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), would create a Select Committee to look into the grounds for impeaching President Bush over misleading the public on the need to go to war; retaliating against public officials who disagree with him; and encouraging torture.

US Rep. Rothman actually had indicated his support since March of 2006, but a clerical error led to his name not being listed until late last week, the Congressman’s Communications Director, Kimberly Allen, told Atlanta Progressive News. This would be a second time a clerical error has occurred related to this bill.

US Rep. Rothman recently pledged his support at a constituent panel on leaving Iraq, “If Not Now, When?”

“The only body that has the power to impeach the president is the House of Representatives. The effort, if I may be so bold, is to take back the House,” US Rep. Rothman said, according to The Bergen Record Newspaper of New Jersey.

“Rothman, building on one audience member’s suggested metaphor, likened the war, and its aim of finding weapons of mass destruction that were never recovered, to an unresolved car theft,” The Bergen Record said.

“Imagine if you will, if the police and prosecutor, they refuse to charge you with a crime,” Rothman said, according to The Bergen Record. “You did it, but they refuse to charge you. What do we do as a society? We replace the police and the prosecutor.”

“This November, you can get a new prosecutor and a new police force and charge with a crime and have a trial… We will hold all those hearings, including one in which we look at whether an impeachable offense occurred,” US Rep. Rothman said, according to The Bergen Record.

“A number in the audience were very passionate that President Bush should be impeached. They even went so far as to say that he was responsible for war crimes … and what would I do about it,” Rep. Rothman said according to The News-Leader Newspaper in New Jersey.

“Having served on the House Judiciary Committee when President Clinton was going to be impeached for having sex with someone other than his spouse … that was, in my opinion, an abuse of power and a violation of our Founding Fathers who allowed for an impeachment only for treason, high crimes or other misdemeanors,” Rothman said, according to The News-Leader. “I’m reluctant to join any frivolous effort to impeach President Bush without clear evidence of bribery, treason or high crimes or misdemeanors.”

“The president’s Republican majority said they will not convene any such hearings in regards to President Bush. A number of us in Congress supported the holding of hearings to determine if there was evidence for an impeachment hearing,” Rep. Rothman said according to The News-Leader.

9% of US Congress now supports the impeachment review, including 18% of Democrats, 100% of Independents (1 out of 1), and 0% of Republicans.

The best represented states on H. Res 635 are California (9), New York (6), Illinois (3), Massachusetts (3), Minnesota (3), Georgia (2), New Jersey (2), and Wisconsin (2).

The current 38 total co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Jackson, Jr., (D-IL), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. John Olver (D-MA), Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN), Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA), Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Rep. David Wu (D-OR).

An Atlanta Progressive News analysis has found that, interestingly, 30 of the 38 total co-sponsors are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. However, only 30 of the 62 members of the Caucus have signed on.

Atlanta Progressive News is calling out the other 32 self-described progressives who have not signed on. They are Reps. Becerra, Bordallo, Corrine Brown, Sherrod Brown, Carson, Cristenson, Cleaver, Cummings, DeFazio, DeLauro, Evans, Frank, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Tubbs Jones, Kaptur, Kilpatrick, Kucinich, Lantos, Markey, McGovern, Miller, Holmes-Norton, Pastor, Rush, Serrano, Slaughter, Thompson, Udall, Watson, Watt, and Waxman.

In the US Senate, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), John Kerry (D-MA), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) are currently the three co-sponsors of US Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill, S. Res 398, to censure President Bush. US Sen. Menendez told Atlanta Progressive News recently that several Senators are closely considering the censure resolution.

In the last couple months, there have not been any new cosponsors to either resolution. The most recent activity involves US Rep. Rothman’s cosponsoring of H. Res 635; although his office is characterizing Rothman’s position on an impeachment review as not new.

Atlanta Progressive News has provided near-exclusive–and during many times, exclusive–coverage of the progress of H. Res 635.

A few months ago, H. Res 635 was discovered by the corporate media.

While the corporate media has yet to give serious treatment to the grounds for an impeachment review, they have given voice to Republican scare tactics that, “Oh no, if Democrats take back the House, it will be impeachment hearings!” we paraphrase.

US Rep. Conyers has been in an ideological tug of war in the meantime.

Many progressives have criticized Conyers for not doing enough, saying the time has come for outright impeachment proceedings.

One commenter on ConyersBlog accused the Congressman of essentially appeasing progressives with his bill to make it look like something was being done about Bush’s apparent lies, even accusing Conyers of being a secret agent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, Republicans have highlighted Conyers’s likely upcoming promotion to US House Judiciary Committee Chairman as part of their fundraising efforts, while current Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has distanced herself from the impeachment movement as much as possible.

“There has been massive support for House Resolution 635 from a very vigorous network of grassroots activists and people committed to holding the Bush Administration accountable for its widespread abuses of power,” US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said in a statement prepared for Atlanta Progressive News.

“The Atlanta Progressive News has reported regularly on this bill,” Conyers wrote on ConyersBlog.

On the local level, impeachment resolutions have been passing in more and more US cities.

At least twelve (20) US cities, including Arcata, Berkeley, Fairfax, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Sebastopol, each in California; Brookline, Massachussetts; Hanover, New Hampshire; New Paltz, Plattsburg, and Woodstock in New York; Carrboro and Chapel Hill in North Carolina; and Battleboro, Brookfield, Dummerston, Marlboro, Newfane, Putney, and Rockingham, each in Vermont, have passed resolutions calling for Bush’s impeachment or an impeachment investigation, according to ImpeachPAC.

State Assembly Resolutions are also being considered in California, Illinois, and Vermont, either of which would force the issue to be considered in the US House according to The Jefferson Manual.

At least three members of Congress are prepared to sign Articles of Impeachment if they were to be introduced, sources tell Atlanta Progressive News. One of them is US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), according to a radio interview he did. His press office later tried to spin this, saying of course Rep. Lewis meant it would only be introduced if it went through a proper investigation.

Conyers’s bill was initially referred to the US House Rules Committee, which has not taken action. None of the US House Democrats on the Rules Committee have signed on as co-sponsors. The Ranking Democrat on the Committee is US Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Democratic members of the Committee are Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and James McGovern (D-MA). Republicans currently outnumber Democrats on the committee by about a two-to-one ratio.

The US House Rules Committee would need to take action on H. Res 635 because it calls for the creation of a Select Committee, in other words the creation of a new committee that is not a standing committee, Jonathan Godfrey, Communications Director for US Rep. Conyers, told Atlanta Progressive News. Such a Committee would need to be staffed, Godfrey noted.

If not acted on this session, the bill would have to be reintroduced next session. It is possible a new bill could include new language regarding Bush’s approval of illegal NSA domestic wiretapping.

For now, however, sources in Washington DC tell Atlanta Progressive News that H. Res 635 is a venue for coalition among members of Congress who are willing to consider impeachment for a variety of reasons.

Even though H. Res 635 does not specifically reference the NSA domestic wiretapping issue, some Members of US Congress have found the wiretapping issue a compelling reason to sign on as a co-sponsor, sources say.

In other words, why introduce separate legislation to address a single issue when momentum has been built with H. Res 635?

The thing about H. Res. 635 is, it deals with impeaching Bush over a cluster of issues from misleading the public to go to war, to authorizing torture. Wiretapping was not listed as one of the reasons to investigate the grounds for Bush’s impeachment in the bill because the existence of the secret, illegal wiretapping had not come to light yet when the bill was being prepared.

US Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) withdrew her name from H. Res 635 at the end of January 2006, whereas she had been listed as a cosponsor throughout January 2006. Lofgren cited a clerical error for her name having been listed in the first place. Lofgren’s Office told Atlanta Progressive News the Representative learned of her being listed as a co-sponsor after reading an exclusive article by Atlanta Progressive News issued January 01, 2006.

Atlanta Progressive News will continue to follow this story and any related developments. We have a juicy related scoop to be revealed soon.

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor and National Correspondent for Atlanta Progressive News. He may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com

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This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.

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