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Wednesday
Jun082011

More Democrats Urge Weiner to Resign; Watchdog Sees Double Standard

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- A growing number of Democrats are joining several high-profile Republicans in calling for Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York to resign following his admission of risqué online exchanges and lying about them.

Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a top Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official, called Weiner's behavior "offensive" and said that he should resign.

"Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress," she said in an interview with Politico.

Schwartz joins a handful of other sitting Democrats, including Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, as well as former DNC chairman Tim Kaine in calling for Weiner to step down.

Top Republicans, including RNC chairman Reince Preibus and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, have also said Weiner should go.

But some observers say the message to Weiner is hypocritical and politically motivated, given both public opinion polling showing that a majority of New Yorkers think Weiner should stay and the fact that Weiner has not been accused of breaking the law or convicted of violating any House rules.

"This is a massive overreaction and I don't understand it," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Sloan pointed to the recent ethics case of another New York congressman, Charles Rangel, as an example of the double standard being pushed by some Democrats for Weiner.

The House Ethics Committee found Rangel -- the former chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which writes the nation's tax laws -- guilty of improper fundraising, inappropriate possession of multiple rent-controlled apartments and failure to pay taxes on a vacation home, among other charges.

"There were very few calls on Rangel to resign and he was censured of serious misconduct involving his office -- really serious things that had potential for criminal charges," Sloan said. "We don't have anything remotely like that in the Weiner case."

Sloan explained that the mounting pressure on Weiner may stem in part from the early precedent set by House Speaker John Boehner when, at the first sign of sexual misconduct, he urged Reps. Mark Souder, R-Ind.,  and Chris Lee, R-N.Y., to resign, even though their behavior didn't appear to involve any abuse of their office.

As for Weiner's bald lies to his family, constituents and the general public in media appearances last week about the lewd photo that appeared on Twitter, Sloan said it was disconcerting and tarnished his credibility but not the worst Washington has seen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio