The Houston Chronicle has updated the story I reported of the hissy fit and the charges my new congresswoman has filled against her staffers that quit after meeting her. It seems House rules require PCs be scrubbed when a new representative takes over.
David James, who was chief of staff under DeLay and ran the office after the Texas Republican resigned in June, flatly denied that he or his colleagues had acted improperly.The Chronicle editorial page wags its finger:
House rules demand that computers be scrubbed clean before a new representative takes over, James noted.
James had previously been unwilling to discuss his five-day experience working for Sekula-Gibbs, but said he could no longer remain silent after accusations against him and co-workers with more than 30 years combined experience on Capitol Hill.
"Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days," he said. He declined to detail specific behavior.
Sekula-Gibbs also leveled charges of unprofessionalism against the former aides, saying they "left without notice and their departure raises suspicions." An eighth staffer who left was a part-time employee shared with other offices.
Defenders of the departed aides were puzzled by Sekula-Gibbs' actions, saying the former DeLay staff members were hard-working, loyal employees dedicated to the Texas district, particularly at a time when the office lacked a representative.
"We had the good fortune of working with them over the years and every one of them, to a person, has unimpeachable character and integrity," said Tony Essalih, chief of staff to Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston.
A former congressional staffer familiar with the 22nd District's operations also praised the aides. "They know the district like the back of their hand; it has been their lives for years and it was with a heavy heart that they had to leave," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity....
"As public servants, they have harmed the 22nd Congressional District and they have brought shame to this office," Sekula-Gibbs said in a statement. "I have a duty to investigate."
If Sekula-Gibbs hoped to burnish her reputation as a lawmaker in order to run for the seat in 2008, alienating the staff that served the district when DeLay was in office was a very poor strategy. If she runs for the seat again, Houstonians will be reminded that in resigning her council seat only to win fleeting, unflattering national exposure, she cost city taxpayers approximately $1 million to stage a special election to choose her replacement.Her actions have already lead to a credible candidate to announce that he will battle her for the chance to take on Rep. Lampson in 2008. Bettencourt, like Sekula-Gibberish, will force a million dollar replacement election when and if he resigns to run.
Tags: Sekula-Gibbs, Texas