Sen. Coburn threatened with censure

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has been threatened with censure by the Senate Ethics Committee for delivering babies for free:

Coburn has come under new pressure from the Ethics panel for delivering babies at the Muskogee Regional Medical Center, which changed from a public to a private institution in April last year after it was acquired by Capella Healthcare. … In May, Coburn received a strongly worded “final determination” memo threatening him with a Senate censure if he did not stop delivering babies for free.

Coburn notes that there appears to be no issue with Sen. Leahy being paid for his cameo in “The Dark Night” (a minimal sum he donates to charity), a profit-making enterprise, so there should be no problem with his delivering babies for free (actually at his own cost, since he still has to pay for malpractice insurance and the like).

What’s really going on, of course, is that Harry Reid is using this trumped up charge to pressure Coburn to remove the holds he’s placed on some 35 pork-barrel spending bills. I’m with McQ on this one:

With Feinstein’s husband cashing in on government business over which she had oversight and Dodd getting sweetheart mortgage loans, this is the ethics fight the committee picks?

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , ,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    I’m with McQ on this one

    As am I.
    Reid needs to be gone. Given the path he’s on, particularly given his own support of blocking any attempt to increase domestic oil drilling, in the face of masive support for such bills, I suppsoe this to be a situation that will take care of itself come November.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Given the path he’s on, particularly given his own support of blocking any attempt to increase domestic oil drilling

    Yea. Well, the Bush ban on drilling lasted, what, 18 years? And it took GW nearly 8 years to rescind it with the stroke of a pen. GW also enacted a drilling ban in FL to help his brother win an election.

    The GOP controlled congress for 12 years and did not lift the congressional ban.

    So, of course, it’s all Reid’s fault.

  3. Wayne says:

    Who block increase domestic oil drilling for those 12 years? Not the Republicans. They were pushing for new explorations. The Democrats block them using the filibuster since the Republicans didn’t have a super majority.

    If Reid and the Democrats would allow it, the Republicans would pass new oil exploration tomorrow.

  4. I would expect the Republicans to bring up a censure of Obama, the pork to his wife’s employer and of course the entirely unrelated (wink, wink) raise she got.

  5. sam says:

    I dunno. Coburn has been at odds with the Senate Ethics Committee for a number of years over his outside medical practice. See this story from 2005, at a time when the Republicans held a majority of the seats.

  6. Triumph says:

    I bet if Coburn were an abortion doctor–killing babies rather than saving them–his practice would be no problem to Reid & Hussein.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Who block increase domestic oil drilling for those 12 years? Not the Republicans.

    So you are simply saying the GOP congress was ineffective and powerless? OK.

    Reality. GHW Bush signed an executive order banning drilling on the continental shelf in 1990.
    It took GW almost 8 years to pick up a pen and rescind it. While the Bush drilling ban was in effect, the Bush’s good friends the Saudis raked in enough money to buy a decent sized chunk of our country out from under us.

    If you think “it’s all the Democrats fault”, you are being played.

  8. anjin-san says:

    I would expect the Republicans to bring up a censure of Obama

    Meanwhile, they can look into McCain and Airbus, and how McCain got paid off to ship jobs overseas…

  9. Brian J. says:

    Reid sure makes us miss Daschle, ainna?

  10. Wayne says:

    I not sure how oil exploration made in this thread but OK. The slim majority GOP was ineffective but not as bad as the Dems have been.
    Do you really believe that if the ANWR and/or offshore drilling was lifted by congress within the last 8 years that Bush wouldn’t have lifted it also?

    The Republicans fault lies in not pressuring the Dems on this issue. It is the Dems who a standing in the way. For you not to condemn the Dems show how bias you are. I bet if you saw three Dems rape a gal with a wimpy Republican who walk by and wouldn’t attempt to help out, you would blame the Republican for not doing anything and not say one bad word about the Dems. Anytime someone would bash the Dems, you would reply “but the Republican didn’t do anything so it is his fault”.

  11. TJIT says:

    anjin-san,

    The democrats in congress are not to be taken seriously on energy policy.

    On one hand they sponsor show trials to harangue the oil companies for not producing enough domestic oil.

    At the same time congressional democrats are forbidding the oil companies from drilling on the areas most likely to increase domestic oil production.

  12. anjin-san says:

    The democrats in congress are not to be taken seriously on energy policy.

    Well, you can cry about the Democrats all you want, but it does not change the fact that the Bush family blocked drilling for almost 2 decades.

    Look, when Bush & Cheney were running in 2000, they told us they had an energy policy. In this instance, they told the truth. Exxon/Mobile posted the largest quarterly profit in the history of corporate America last quarter.

    The did have a plan. And it worked.

  13. TJIT says:

    anjin-san,

    The democrat’s energy policy is complete idiocy that involves demanding two absolutely opposite policy positions at the same time.

    Pointing that out is informing people not whining.

  14. TJIT says:

    anjin-san, I am ROTFLMAO at this statement of yours

    Look, when Bush & Cheney were running in 2000, they told us they had an energy policy. In this instance, they told the truth. Exxon/Mobile posted the largest quarterly profit in the history of corporate America last quarter.

    You know when those record profits occurred??? After the democrats took over the house and senate.

    Thank the democrats for the high prices, they had an energy plan, they are in control of congress, and the prices increased massively while they were in charge.

    Massive increase in gas prices while democrat’s control congress

  15. anjin-san says:

    You know when those record profits occurred??? After the democrats took over the house and senate.

    OK. Please tell us specifically what legislation enacted by the Democrats since 2006 resulted in current record oil company profits.

    By the way, if you were interested in anything beyond GOP talking points, you would know that the record profits trend by oil companies predates the Democrats taking control of congress.


    Oil industry under fire
    Soaring earnings prompt calls for a windfall profit tax, but will big oil end up having to pay?
    October 28, 2005: 2:51 PM EDT

    By Chris Isidore, CNN/Money senior writer
    Sen. Byron Dorgan has proposed a “windfall profit” tax on oil being sold above $40 a barrel.

    NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Soaring energy prices and record profits for big oil companies have sparked a wave of public outrage in the United States that’s led all the way to Capitol Hill.

    http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/28/news/economy/windfall_tax/

    Why not just say “Duh” and call it a day?

  16. anjin-san says:

    Worth noting that with all the ranting about Democrats causing high oil prices there is not a peep about the Bush drilling ban.

  17. TJIT says:

    anjin-san,

    Your flailing about on this issue is entertaining but you can’t spew enough squid ink to obscure the fundamental facts.

    1. When gas prices got high Bush lifted the presidential moratorium on offshore drilling

    2. When gas prices got high the republicans in congress tried to pass measures to increase domestic drilling.

    3. When gas prices got high the democrats continued to block any increase in domestic drilling.

    4. Even though gas prices increased by 74% after the democrats took over congress.

    The fact that the democrats had hearings to complain about the lack of domestic production while simultaneously forbidding increased domestic exploration and production shows what a bunch of flaming, counterproductive, hypocrites the democrats are.

    I look forward to your next posting of humorously obfuscatory ink.

  18. anjin-san says:

    When gas prices got high

    What does “got high” mean? Sounds like an argument a teenager would use. “high” is a relative term. In 2005, prices had “got high” compared to when Bush took office.

    Gas prices hit record highs the year before the Democrats took over congress. Why did Bush fail to rescind the Bush drilling ban then? Possibly because his good friends the Saudis would not like it?

    All your little chart proves is that gas prices increased over 50% while the GOP had complete control of the government, and they did not do a damn thing about it. It also shows that gas prices have more than doubled during the Bush era. Nice job GW.

    But then you seem to be very comfortable with the “bend over and grab your ankles” energy policy. Guess it comes easy to you 🙂

    I also note that you have not produced a single piece of legislation enacted by the Democratic congress which has led to today’s high prices.

  19. TJIT says:

    anjin-san you said,

    I also note that you have not produced a single piece of legislation enacted by the Democratic congress which has led to today’s high prices.

    You make an excellent (but unintended) point.

    The democrats in control of congress have not produced any legislation that would help reduce the price of oil.

    They did manage to have some show hearings to harangue the oil company executives.

    But they have never actually produced legislation to do something to lower the price of oil. Apparently doing anything that would help lower the price of oil is entirely too much work for the democrats.

    Which explains why they have gone on a five week vacation while ordinary Americans suffer through the high gas prices that the democrats are just too apathetic to try and reduce.

    But they did find time to threaten Tom Coburn with censure for delivering babies for free.

    Real sick sense of priorities the democrats have.

  20. anjin-san says:

    The democrats in control of congress have not produced any legislation that would help reduce the price of oil.

    Well, the GOP had complete control of the government 2001-2006, an era of soaring, then record gas prices. What did they do to reduce the price of oil? Nothing. Nada. The Bush drilling ban stayed in place, apparently it was too much trouble for him to pick up a pen and make it go away.

  21. Dodd says:

    This post has nothing to do with drilling for oil. It has to do with Harry Reid & Co. abusing the Senate Ethics Committee to bring renewed pressure on a member of the minority to let up on his opposition to wasteful spending (while ignoring serious ethical breaches in their own caucus).

  22. TJIT says:

    Anjin-san,

    You position is so untenable you are reduced to the pathetic argument of [well the other guy would be worse.] You said

    Well, the GOP had complete control of the government 2001-2006

    Funny thing is most folks who voted for democrats based on the democrat’s promise to reduce oil prices are not going buy that argument.

    These voters wanted change and they got it,massively higher oil prices in less than two years of democrat controlled congress.

    democrat controlled congress = epic fail on oil prices.

    But the democrats have been successful on the important issue of censuring Tom Coburn for delivering babies free of charge.

    Which shows what a bunch of utterly pathetic political hacks the democrat’s in control of congress are.

  23. Rick DeMent says:

    Dill all you want domestically, all that OPEC needs to do is twril back the tap a notch or two and prices stay as high as they want … all that work for nothing (the pro drilling mantra is the answer only someone who doesn’t understand oil markets could ever think makes any sense)

    Also of the dollar were as strong as it was at the end of the Clinton administration oil would be 80$ a barrel right now. Maybe we should join the EU and get on the Euro … ?

  24. Dodd says:

    Dill all you want domestically, all that OPEC needs to do is twril back the tap a notch or two and prices stay as high as they want … all that work for nothing (the pro drilling mantra is the answer only someone who doesn’t understand oil markets could ever think makes any sense)

    Well, this post still isn’t about drilling, but this comment is just plain nonsense. Even assuming that you’re correct and OPEC will reduce output as a matter of course to maintain prices at a level we find uncomfortable (which is not necessarily the case), increasing domestic production is still wise for two reasons:

    1. It reduces our dependence on such fickle sources, resulting in more stability in our supply; and

    2. It keeps more of the petrodollars we’re going to be spending anyway – and the jobs extracting that oil entails – here rather than shipping them overseas.

  25. There is ONE THING THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE BOTH IN THE SENATE AND HOUSE that would do a lot to unscrew our politicians’ shyster ways. It must be made a hard and fast rule that ONLY ONE SUBJECT CAN BE ADDRESSED IN ANY PENDING
    BILL, AND IT MUST BE READ BY EVERY ELECTED OFFICIAL ELIGIBLE TO VOTE. It is insanity that this practice goes on unquestioned, and if we need to get a petition(or whatever) to make them do it, lets go ! Their fun and games cost the taxpayer, and need to be limited; we elect them and this is what we get !

    This is a good reason for electing a viable 3rd party, so they cannot keep on playing their childish partisan politics. Vote for Bob Barr so we can start the ball rolling in that direction. Then maybe the good congressmen and senators of both
    parties will join up to stop the power plays.

    Until then, it is necessary to do what Coburn has done (fight fire with fire), and now Reid wants to get even, so it gets more and more ridiculous and childlike.

  26. Bruce Moomaw says:

    On the actual point of this thread, I’m 99.9% with Dodd. That 2005 kerfuffle that Sam quotes, while the GOP was in charge of Congress, actually involved a ban on Congressmen maintaining PAID jobs while they were in Congress because — obviously — this might lead to conflicts of interest in their votes on legislation relating to said jobs. It has nothing logically to do with Coburn delivering babies for free, as an act of charity.

    The only slight qualification is that Coburn himself says that his doing so ISN’T absolutely and totally disinterested: “He would like to keep up his medical skills if he is going to continue being able to earn a living in his chosen profession.” But the Dems are obviously using a hand grenade to kill a fly, for self-interested motives.

    As for the glories of offshore and ANWR drilling, however, let’s quote that recent study by Bush’s own Energy Information Agency — which the Administration, if I remember correctly, tried to cover up for a month — showing that even totally unlimited offshore and ANWR drilling would lower gas costs by only a few cents per gallon, and then not before 2020. Last time I brought this up on this site, Beldar threw a fit for — so help me God — taking the word of those “Ivy League intellectuals” over that of a “soccer mom” like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (a disinterested authority if ever I saw one). Beldar also gibbered about the analysts’ “uncertainty”, without mentioning that they said this was their AVERAGE estimate of what we’d gain — we could end up cutting gas costs more or less, depending on just what the total supply of offshore and ANWR oil is. But, in short, when Bush and McCain proclaim that offshore and ANWR drilling will quickly and dramatically reduce our gas prices, they are — how can I put this delicately — lying through their teeth.

  27. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Actually, after reading that article, I’d also like to know just how certain it is that all of those “35 pork-barrel spending bills” that Dodd and Coburn refer to — which Coburn, using the Senate’s bizarre rules, is blocking SINGLE-HANDEDLY — really are unjustifiable. (They include “increased funding for unsolved civil rights crimes… creation of a national registry for victims of the disease ALS… [and] more money for child pornography prosecutions.”) Is he right on these, or not? And why the hell should he be allowed to decide ENTIRELY BY HIMSELF that they’re unjustifiable?

  28. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Having said that, however, let me add again that the best way to solve the problem is obviously to get rid of said bizarre rule for ALL Senate members, rather than throwing trumped-up charges at Coburn himself.