Long, long ago and far, far away there were Ethics Committees in both houses of our legislative branch, empowered to keep members from violating basic canons of decency and disgracing the body called Congress.

In case that sentence sounds altogether outdated and quaint, it does seem that when the Ethics Committee in the House of Representatives was dismembered (pun intended), it turned loose standards by which the so-called representatives of the country were able to dishonor their offices and the country. The Ethics Committee did its work, and caused the end of the career of Tom DeLay after his misadventures with Jack Abramoff’s lobbying payoffs. That was its own end, as well.