Hastings Constituents Demand Answers

A group of Yakima, Washington residents sent a letter yesterday asking their Congressman, House Ethics Committee Chair Doc Hastings, to do the right thing and appoint an outside counsel to look into the scandals surrounding Tom DeLay. They sent the letter in light of new information, reported two days ago in the New York Times, that Hastings has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's Seattle-based lobbying firm.

"Rep. Hastings, how will you be able to serve in this role and impartially investigate how Members of Congress were corrupted by lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his former firm of Preston, Gates and Ellis, when you yourself have had close ties with them?," his constituents asked.

The Washingtonians, one of whom has voted for Hastings in the past, also announced the formation of a new group: Washingtonians for a Cleaner Congress.

Alicia Mundy of the Seattle Times reported that the days of Hastings intentionally low-profile are coming to an end.

"Doc Hastings, the laconic Republican congressman from Pasco, has spent much of the past three days trying to avoid being sucked into the vortex of ethics complaints swirling around House Majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas."

Local NBC affiliate KNDO interviewed one of the letter's signers, Versa K'ang, a 66-year-old retiree living on Social Security who has voted for both Democrats and Republicans in the past.

"'For the sake of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, and for the sake of the people, we're asking that the Ethics Committee turn over its investigation of Tom Delay to an independent investigator that he support actually getting rid of the Ethics Committee,' K’ang said."

Les Blumenthal, of the News-Tribune, reported that Hastings had no comment.

Maybe he's pretending he still has a low profile.