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THE NATION

The Push and Pull of Power

July 25, 2002|From Associated Press

Comments during debate and after the decision to expel Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (D-Ohio):

"My people elected me, and I don't think you should take their representative away .... Vote your conscience. Nothing personal."

--Traficant

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"I'm prepared to lose everything. I'm prepared to go to jail. You go ahead and expel me."

--Traficant

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"None of us ever wants to sit in judgment of our peers. There are some unique occasions, however, when the behavior of an elected official violates the public trust to such an extent that we are called upon to uphold this provision of the Constitution that we swore to support and defend."

--Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), chairman of the House ethics committee that recommended Traficant's expulsion

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"This is a day that each of us hoped would never come and we pray that it will not come again. Simply put, there is absolutely no satisfaction in judging one of our own. But the Constitution makes clear that we are the only ones that can judge a fellow member of Congress ... "

--Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.)

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The ethics committee, "involving an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, covering an incredible range of philosophies and ideologies ... have applied our rules to the facts as we see them and

--Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Mission Hills)

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