From: Ann Curley/CNN
Subject: GOP Leaders Shift Gears On Ethics Review
House GOP leaders, influenced by bitter complaints by Democrats, today reversed an earlier decision to abandon the ethics reform process.
Earlier in the day, House Democrats accused Speaker Newt Gingrich of subverting the ethics reform process by performing a "Saturday night massacre" and disbanding, late on Tuesday night, the task force responsible for reforming the House ethics process.
Angry Democrats from the task force held a news conference early this afternoon, blaming the dissolution on Gingrich. Task force co-chair Rep. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said, "Last night was Tuesday night but it was the Saturday night massacre of the ethics reform. It was caused by a partisan bullet fired by the Republican leadership."
The House "bipartisan Ethics Reform Task force" was abruptly disbanded, shortly before it was prepared to release a proposal for streamlining the process for censuring House members. Democrats were informed of the decision by task force co-chairman Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.), although he was unable to specify why the task force's work was being abandoned.
House GOP sources confirm that Gingrich was responsible for disbanding the task force, but remained tight-lipped about the reasons for his action.
But they abruptly changed their minds after Democrats browbeat them during their press conference, informing reporters that the task force's work would not be abandoned.
Democratic sources claimed their news conference had embarrassed the trouble-fraught GOP leadership. House Republicans declined to comment on the situation.
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