It was not too long ago that there were certain standards of behavior by public officials that would not be tolerated by the public. It did not matter whether the person was a member of the party that you supported. Those days are gone. Now the standard is: If you are on my side, as long as you have not been convicted of a crime, you are acceptable. In contrast, those on the other side are judged based on the old rules.

This double-standard is on full display in the House of Representatives. The Speaker refused to accept the appointment of Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff to the House Intelligence Committee, and is looking to expel Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. McCarthy’s comments in a letter rejecting their assignments that he cannot put party loyalty ahead of national security and that integrity matters are farcical in light of his appointments.

An argument could be made that Swalwell, due to an attempt to be influenced by a Chinese spy, should not be on the committee. However, it is pure politics that the Speaker is kicking Schiff off. He is taking revenge because Schiff was the lead prosecutor in the first Trump impeachment trial. To say that Schiff should be kicked off because of Republicans’ allegations that he lied about claims of Trump’s involvement with the Russians who tried to help Trump win the 2016 election is laughable in light of the many election deniers who were put on committees by the Speaker.

Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments should be a reason why she should not be on the committee. The problem is that you have committee members including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar who appeared at America First Political Action Conference, organized by prominent white supremacist Nick Fuentes, whom Trump met with at Mar-a-Lago. Taylor Greene did not leave the stage after Fuentes praised Adolf Hitler.

It would be bad enough to put election deniers and those who associate and appear with anti-Semites on committees, but there are plenty of individuals with other issues, which in normal times would ruin a career.

The authority of the January 6 Select Committee to issue subpoenas was upheld by courts. Steve Bannon was convicted of a crime for refusing to abide by the subpoena. Speaker McCarthy was served with a subpoena by the committee, and he refused to abide by it. Others who refused to comply include Jim Jorden, who is now leading the Judiciary Committee. The fact that they were not charged with a crime does not make their conduct proper. How ironic it is that someone who violates the law is in charge of a committee whose task it is to make sure the law is followed.

Scott Perry had his phone seized by the FBI. Perry’s involvement was discussed in detail in the January 6 committee’s report, including his trying to get Jeffrey Clark installed as the Attorney General and then Clark would send out a letter containing false claims that the DOJ found election irregularities.  This would be used as part of the plan to overturn the election results and give the presidency to Trump. Perry is on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, which has the authority to investigate the FBI and the DOJ. The person under investigation is now investigating the investigators.

Then there is George Santos. In normal times, Santos would be long gone. However, it appears that he is going nowhere unless he is criminally charged. There are two good reasons why he is still there. First, McCarthy needs him to stay because of the small majority the Republicans have in the House of Representatives. Second, the base wants him to stay. As someone said to me: “I’d rather have a liar than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” However, there was no requirement to put him on any committee. Santos is accused of falsifying everything about his past including his business experience as a small entrepreneur. So McCarthy puts Santos on the small business committee.

Weeks ago, one of my critics accused me of overstating Marjorie Taylor Greene’s importance in the Republican Party. I can understand why he would want to minimize her involvement because she has history of making crazy and inflammatory statements including whether the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11 really happened and about Covid-19. Two things have occurred since then. Taylor Greene was given the important committee assignments in the Oversight and Accountability Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, and the new select Subcommittee investigating the government’s response to Covid-19 and its origins.

These changes in norms did not happen in a vacuum. Politicians do what they think help them get reelected. Right now, they believe that this is the best way to get there. They fear a primary challenge if they are not totally partisan no matter what. They will only change when they see that the voters find it unacceptable. If we do nothing, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Warren S. Hecht is a local attorney. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.