Nation: Senate Ethics

Talmadge claims victory

For months the Senate Ethics Committee has agonized over what to do about Georgia Democrat Herman Talmadge, who was charged with extensive financial wrongdoing, including filing $43,000 worth of improper expense accounts. In effect, the committee wanted to recommend that the Senate censure Talmadge without using that fateful word. "Censure" is a punishment that has been applied only seven times in Senate history; the last occasion was in 1967, when the Senate passed judgment on Connecticut Democrat Thomas Dodd for pocketing campaign funds.

In Talmadge's case, the committee considered a variety of damning words, including "reprimand" and "condemn." None of...

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