What about that conference call Majority Leader Boehner was part of back in 1996 in which Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Boehner and a bunch of other Republicans plotted to defy the will of the House Ethics Committee?
This usually comes up in the news these days because Rep. Boehner has been pressing a longstanding civil suit against Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) over how the prohibited conversation took place.
To make a long story semi-short, Gingrich, DeLay, Dick Armey, Boehner and several others got together on a conference call to plot a counterattack against a finding of the House Ethics Committee -- something Gingrich was explicitly prohibited from doing as a condition of the punishment he received for various ethical infractions.
Boehner, though, called into the call on a cell phone. Because of that, a Florida couple picked up the conversation on a police scanner. They recognized Gingrich's voice, thought it sounded important and recorded it. They in turn gave a copy of the recording to Rep. McDermott who was then, co-chair of the Ethics Committee. McDermott later leaked copies of the recording to news organizations to show that Gingrich et al. had broken the rules.
The whole thing was a big to-do at the time.
Boehner later sued McDermott alleging violations of privacy and so forth. And he may well have a point (here's McDermott's side of the story and here's a post from John Aravosis on why the legal argument Boehner is pressing could have a seriously stifling effect on the press.)
But if that's a problem, it's McDermott's problem. It doesn't get Boehner off the hook. He did have the conversation. And he did plot with Gingrich and DeLay to obstruct the will of Ethics Committee, break House rules and to violate the terms of the punishment imposed on Gingrich.
The whole suit is a brilliant example of using the means of your getting caught to divert people's attention from what you got caught doing.
Is Boehner prosecuting a frivolous lawsuit? Did McDermott do something bad too? Like I said, that might be an issue if McDermott was the new Majority Leader. But he's not. It's what Boehner got caught doing, red-handed. What about it?