Glass Houses: Congressional Ethics and the Politics of Venom

The Congressional ethics process has been transformed into a lethal, partisan political tool, feared by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. . Newt Gingrich, the Ghengis Khan of recent American politics, wrenched the humdrum Congressional ethics process out of its lethargy and turned it into an offensive tool for partisan gain. Now, instead of yawning, lawmakers quake at the thought of an ethics inquiry that can easily, often unfairly, tip elections and ruin careers. While members of the House and Senate confront the public's changing attitudes toward money, sex, and power, they are also forced to raise ever-escalating sums to finance their campaigns. Practices tolerated a decade ago now may cost lawmakers their seats or land them in jail. Lawmakers often don't know if they live in Salem or Gomorrah. Using new information culled from dozens of Capitol Hill interviews, Sue and Marty Tolchin show how ethics in Washington have changed over two centuries while offering new interpretations of past ethics cases. The first book to analyse the politicization of the ethics process, Glass Houses reveals in wicked and telling detail the forces that drive the modern lawmaker into a maelstrom of fierce corruption battles.