Politics

Clyburn calls on Democratic caucus to act, suggests stripping Weiner of committee assignments

Jeff Poor Media Reporter

Although many Democratic congressional leaders have called on embattled New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign, many are reluctant to say what the next course of action would be if he were to refuse to do so.

However, on Monday’s broadcast of “Hardball” on MSNBC, House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, said there were certain things they could as a caucus to discourage him staying in the House of Representatives. He referred to what the caucus did to New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, in the wake of his 2010 Ethics Committee hearing.

“That’s absolutely true, but I don’t know that will ask him to leave,” Clyburn said. “I think that we can do certain things [take away his committee assignments] — yeah and other persons in caucus who have and a precedent set a couple years ago, you may recall when a member was removed from the Ways and Means Committee because of a scandal. So I believe that Mr. Weiner serves on a very important and exclusive committee. And so there are certain things that the caucus can do, which I would hope we would just act once and for all and get it behind us and stop talking about it.”

“Hardball” host Chris Matthews suggested there was a possibility if Weiner expelled that he could be reelected, as was the case in 1968 when Adam Clayton Powell had been expelled, but was reelected in his district. According to Clyburn, he can do that, but the Democratic caucus has the right to act as well.

“That would be perfectly with his rights, but I think that the caucus, the Democratic caucus will have acted within its power to act, and I think the American people will understand that,” Clyburn said.

When Clyburn was prodded by Matthews on the possibility this would be used as a campaign issue by the Republicans, the South Carolina Democrat suggesting that his party could fight fire with fire, apparently referring to Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter and former Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign.

“They say that, but we can say the same thing about some of the members on the other side, some of who are still in the body,” Clyburn said. “So I think, that for instance, the senator that resigned the other day, I think it would be foolish for us to run against the senator who resigned or a senator who may have gotten re-elect after a sex scandal as well. I think what we ought to do, do what we can do as a caucus and then leave it up to his constituents to decide whether or not he ought to continue to serve.”