The House ethics committee is investigating a Caribbean trip taken last year by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, but they put a fellow CBC member in charge of the probe.
Among those on the trip was House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who is already the subject of an ethics probe over nonpayment of taxes and other issues.
The group of members, all Democrats, said their trip was sponsored by a non-profit group, but the conservative National Legal and Policy Center, claims for-profit companies paid for the trip, which is a violation of House rules because it would give lobbyists for those companies access to members.
The above has a familiar ring to it.
In 1873, James Shepherd Pike, a veteran anti-slavery journalist from Maine, was dispatched to South Carolina by the New York Tribune to report on the status of that State's Reconstruction government. The articles Pike sent back to New York were published in book form the following year as The Prostrate State. Pike represented South Carolina's government as being politically corrupt and extravagant with public funds. The State, said Pike, was under the control of "a mass of black barbarism... the most ignorant democracy that mankind ever saw." Pike's observations served to increase the growing Northern sympathy for the downtrodden White population of the former Confederate States and helped pave the way for the return of home rule to the South.