September 11, 2013

Congressman Bishop Should Stand Up For Himself

For much of his career we could at least count on Congressman Tim Bishop to give straight answers to the difficult questions.

He's been anything but candid since the infamous 'Plover Gate' incident more than a year ago. (See the related story on page four.) It is no wonder, then, that there has been stony silence from the Bishop campaign about an FBI probe into the matter.

The House Ethics Committee was scheduled to release the results of its probe on the matter today. Though it is illegal to tie an official action of a congressman to a campaign contribution, experts say it is difficult to prove.

A State Department probe could be more serious – we are talking about a criminal investigation. Of course, it's possible the FBI made routine inquiries after serious allegations were made about Bishop and the case is closed. We don't know, because Tim Bishop isn't talking.

More to the point, it really isn't important if Bishop's colleagues decide to slap his wrist or not. When the House Office of Congressional Ethics voted to extend the investigation on July 26, it was an indication that there was a lot more going on than Bishop has ever acknowledged.

He claimed the complaint against him was politically motivated, but he never adequately addressed charges made by the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which named him on a short list of "most corrupt members of Congress."

Bishop has been running scared all year, and now we know why. He hired a high-profile Washington D.C. firm to defend himself against possible formal charges. He kept that from the public.

He knew the FBI was asking questions about him, but chose not to share it with constituents. There is not a word about his predicament on his website.

When asked for a comment, his only response is to recycle the same statement he has made ad nauseum since the scandal story broke: "I welcome a fair-minded review of the facts because I have done nothing wrong."

Why then, does he need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers? Why did he give the campaign contribution he received for doing a constituent a favor to charity when the public found out about it? Why hasn't he revealed the FBI investigated him?

As we have said many times in this space, it's because Tim Bishop is not what he makes himself out to be. He is a phony, a Washington DC insider that takes money from all comers and hones his reputation as the great Liberal Environmentalist from The Hamptons like a witch sharpens her nails.

This isn't about politics or party. It's about an elected official who arrogantly takes our votes and contributions and then acts in a manner that benefits himself, his family, and the powerful men who control him – and no one else.

If you supported Tim Bishop, ask yourself: has the FBI ever come snooping around asking questions about any other politician you've ever voted for? Ever?

When the House Ethics Committee releases its report, Tim Bishop will say all the right things. That it's now behind him. That the matter is closed. That he is grateful it's been resolved. But he won't be telling the truth – that's the way he rolls.

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