A good job with benefits and a pension are hard to find and if any American is fortunate enough to have a job, it is unlikely they would resign unless circumstances made remaining on the job intolerable. There are, however, occasions when a compassionate employer finds it necessary to force an employee to resign for bad behavior instead of terminating their employment. Members of Congress are unlikely to ever resign unless there is an impending ethics investigation or morality issues that are egregious enough to spark an investigation and subsequent trial to expel the offender from the House or Senate. Newt Gingrich was forced to resign his position as Speaker of the House in 1999 after being fined and reprimanded for ethics violations, but it was pressure from Republicans that forced his eventual resignation.
The current House Speaker, John Boehner, has demonstrated that he, like Gingrich, is averse to ethical behavior and it is time for him to resign his position or face an ethics investigation and eventual expulsion from Congress. There is precedent in calling for Boehner’s resignation or expulsion, and ironically, it involved another representative from Ohio. James A. Traficant Jr. of Ohio was expelled in July 2002 after he was convicted of receiving favors, gifts and money in return for performing official acts on behalf of the donors. John Boehner’s case is similar to Traficant’s in that he is performing official acts on behalf of the oil industry and seven Canadian tar sands companies that stand to benefit if the Keystone XL pipeline is built between Canada and the Gulf Coast. Boehner’s official acts on behalf of Canada’s tar sands industry are scandalous because he owns stock in the aforementioned seven companies, and he is using his financial gain as impetus to hold 160 million Americans’ tax cuts hostage in return for immediate approval of the Keystone pipeline.
On Sunday, Boehner told “Fox News Sunday” that Republicans may tie approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to the next payroll tax cut extension to force President Obama to give his backing to the project. Boehner said, “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure this Keystone pipeline project is approved,” and as Republicans have shown with the debt ceiling, holding the payroll tax cut hostage is not out of the realm of possibilities. The only beneficiaries of the Keystone pipeline are Canada’s tar sands companies, the oil industry, and John Boehner.
Boehner’s 2010 financial disclosure form reveals his investment of $15,001 to $50,000 in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, and they are in the business of tar sands oil and are just one of seven companies Boehner bought stocks in. His 2009 disclosure shows no stocks in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd leading any semi-intelligent American to believe Boehner bought stock in Canada’s tar sands just in time to reap financial benefits if and when the pipeline was completed and carrying Canadian oil to Texas for refinement and sale on the foreign market. Boehner’s push, as Speaker of the House, to build the pipeline is beyond simple conflict of interest; he is performing official acts for favors (campaign contributions) and money in the form of dividends from his oil sands stocks. Boehner’s gifts in exchange for performing official acts for the oil industry are $144,150 in the form of campaign contributions in 2010 alone. Boehner must resign or face an ethics investigation that may result in his expulsion from the House.
Boehner makes his unethical activity worse by lying to the American people about the number of jobs the pipeline will create and his assertions have been disproven time and time again. The fact that Boehner lies to the American people for pure personal financial gain and future oil industry campaign contributions is a matter for a House Ethics panel investigation. If Boehner wants to avoid a campaign to remove him from office, he must resign voluntarily to save himself and his family the embarrassment of a protracted ethics investigation.
As Speaker of the House, Boehner could have bought stock in Canada’s tar sands oil companies and let the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency conduct studies to grant a permit for the Keystone pipeline without pushing the project by lying and now, potentially holding 160 million Americans’ payroll tax cut extension hostage. However, the lure of personal financial gain was too enticing to Boehner and he took the only path available to an unethical congressman who stands to profit from performing official acts for money and gifts. Boehner must resign.
Boehner has obstructed, lied, and cheated the American people long enough. He is a hypocrite for calling for Anthony Weiner’s resignation for sending sexually charged pictures over his phone at the same time Boehner bought stocks in Canadian tar sands companies. Pushing the pipeline that only benefits the Canadian companies Boehner invested in, foreign oil markets, and the oil industry while jeopardizing prime agricultural land and critical aquifer is unethical at least and inherently despicable. John Boehner can resign and go to work as a lobbyist for Canada’s tar sands industry, but he cannot be their lobbyist and Speaker of the House at the same time. When Boehner was caught handing out payments for the tobacco industry, he promised he would desist from any act that appeared unethical, but his arrogance and love of oil money proved too tempting and drove him to perform official acts for gifts and money, and if it was enough to expel another Ohio congressman, then it is good enough for Speaker Boehner. Mr. Speaker, it is time for you to go.