Comments About Decision To Expel Ohio Congressman

Comments during debate and after the decision to expel Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio:

  • "My people elected me and I don't think you should take their representative away. ... Vote your conscience. Nothing personal." - Traficant.
  • "I'm prepared to lose everything. I'm prepared to go to jail. You go ahead and expel me." - Traficant.
  • "None of us ever wants to sit in judgment of our peer. There are some unique occasions, however, when the behavior of an elected official violates the public trust to such an extent that we are called upon to uphold this provision of the Constitution that we swore to support and defend." - Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., chairman of the House ethics committee that recommended Traficant's expulsion.
  • "This is a day that each of us hoped would never come and we pray that it will not come again. Simply put, there is absolutely no satisfaction in judging one of our own. But the Constitution makes clear that we are the only ones that can judge a fellow member of Congress in cases such as Mr. Traficant's." - Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.
  • The ethics committee, "involving an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, covering an incredible range of philosophies and ideologies ... have applied our rules to the facts as we see them and unanimously recommended expulsion. No one did it easily, for some it was an incredibly difficult conclusion to reach." - Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif.
  • "When you destroy that fragile bond of trust between the elected and the electorate expulsion is the only appropriate remedy, regrettably." - Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.
  • "If in fact he is sent to jail, I think there is a possibility that he could run and still be a factor in this race." - Ohio state Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin, the Republican candidate in the 17th House District race.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)