Following a report in Politico that an "irate" Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) pulled rank on the National Park Police over a parking ticket at the Lincoln Memorial earlier this month, a D.C. watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, saying he violated the House code of conduct whose first rule states members "shall conduct himself at all times in a manner which shall reflect creditably on the House."
"No wonder the public prefers cockroaches to members of Congress," Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington which filed the complaint, wrote on the group's site Thursday.
Sloan is best-known for having initiated the ethics complaint that helped bring down House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas), who resigned in 2005 following money laundering charges that came out of a lengthy campaign finance investigation.
While the complaint against Gohmert is far less serious, CREW nevertheless hopes the House Ethics Committee takes it up to discourage members from "abusing" their positions of power.
Office of Congressional Ethics senior counsel Bill Cable tells Whispers that complaints from CREW have led to inquiries in the past, but that he could not say whether this complaint would.
"This House rule... is so general that it probably applies to most things. If you violated the rule of the House against doing some other ethical rule, like having a person employed that's in the family...that would be a violation of a rule of the House. That would also reflect less than credibly on the member. So in a way it's so general that anything you did that was wrong would [fall under] that."
Gohmert's office did not immediately respond to request for comment about the complaint from Whispers. CREW filed ethics complaints last year against Republican Reps. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Darrell Issa of California, Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Michael Grimm of New York.