Pelosi passes Hastings for Intel chair
By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour,
44 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - In a decision that could roil Democratic
unity in the new House, Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi
passed over Rep. Alcee Hastings (news, bio, voting
record) Tuesday for the chairmanship of the
Hastings, currently the No. 2 Democrat on the panel,
had been aggressively making a case for the top
position, supported by members of the
Congressional Black Caucus.
Critics pointed out that he had been impeached when he
was a federal judge and said naming him to such a
sensitive post would be a mistake just as the
Democrats take over House control pledging reforms.
"I am obviously disappointed with this decision,"
Hastings, D-Fla., said in a statement thanking his
supporters. "I will be seeking better and bigger
opportunities in a Democratic Congress."
He learned his bid for the chairmanship was
unsuccessful during a closed-door meeting with Pelosi
In a statement, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Hastings has
made national security his highest priority. "He has
served our country well, and I have full confidence
that he will continue to do so," she said.
In a sign of the bitterness that has surrounded the
debate, Hastings closed his statement by saying:
"Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet."
The Black Caucus had no immediate comment.
A Democratic congressional aide, who spoke on
condition of anonymity about internal party
deliberations, said Pelosi has not yet decided who
will get the position when the new Congress convenes
Rep. Silvestre Reyes (news, bio, voting record),
D-Texas, is next in line in seniority and is
considered a strong contender for the job. Still,
naming him would be a snub to the current senior
Democrat on the panel, Jane Harman of California. Her
committee leadership term expires at year's end, and
she could be reappointed by Pelosi. Yet the two are
believed to have deep differences.
Hastings, who came to Congress in 1992, was charged in
an FBI bribery sting but acquitted by a federal jury
in 1983. Some judicial colleagues said Hastings
fabricated his defense, and their allegations led to
his impeachment by the U.S. House in 1988. He was
removed from the bench by the Senate the following
In 1997, the Justice Department found an agent had
falsely testified against Hastings, but no action was
taken to reopen his case.
In 2000, Democrats passed over another member of the
Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Sanford Bishop
(news, bio, voting record) of Georgia for the senior
Democratic spot on the intelligence panel. Party
leaders had agreed to give the position to Harman when
she ran for Congress after an unsuccessful bid to be