For Immediate Release: For More Information Contact:

Wednesday, December 6, 1995 Ralph Nader (202) 296-2787

Gary Ruskin (202) 296-2787

Statement Of Ralph Nader on Decision of House Ethics Committee in Gingrich Case

Today's decision by the House Ethics Committee says one thing to the American people: if you're a member of Congress, you can break the rules and get away with it.

The Committee found that Gingrich broke the rules regarding his employment of Joseph Gaylord, and his use of the House floor for commercial and political purposes. Yet the Committee did not recommend any punishment. That is exactly the wrong message to send to members of Congress, and to the American people -- especially our young people.

Congress should set an example. It should not coddle its own delinquents.

Americans will not trust the Congress and the legislative process unless members of Congress pay the consequences when they break the rules.

The House Ethics Committee has gums but no teeth. It discovers violations but imposes no sanction. In other words, it gives Gingrich another bite of the apple.

The Ethics Committee voted to appoint a special counsel to investigate Gingrich's college course. That's fine as far as it goes. But this action should have been taken many months ago. The stonewalling by the Ethics Committee in the Gingrich case has been appalling.

We await the decision of the Ethics Committee regarding the complaint concerning Donald Jones, the telecommunications entrepreneur who acted as a de facto staff person for Gingrich on telecommunications issues.