Reflects Creditably on the House

The requirement that "members act at all times in a way that reflects creditably on the House" has a parallel in the UCMJ's "conduct unbecoming" clause.

Commenter Herb, reacting to Rep. Charlie Rangel’s being charged with 13 ethics violations, was struck by one in particular:

But “the requirement that members act at all times in a way that reflects creditably on the House?”

Whuh? That’s a bit subjective, no? Wouldn’t the other 434 members be at risk of having that one thrown at em too?

The UCMJ has a similar punitive measure, Article 133: “Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

It’s not abused. It’s usually used in combination with other charges. Additionally, it exists for cases where someone acted in a way everyone thinks scummy but no one thought to write down.

As with the House ethics rules, the monitoring is done by peers reluctant to punish their own. So they’re mighty stingy with invoking it.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Law and the Courts, Military Affairs, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.