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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Senate looks to expell Newton

Can you hear the fat lady sing?

In the never ending Ernest Newton bribery scandal, the state senate is now looking into whether or not they have the power to expell him from office.

From the Stamford Advocate
Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, said such steps are being taken because of allegations surrounding Democratic Sen. Ernest Newton of Bridgeport, who may have taken a $5,000 bribe.

Williams said Newton was asked to step down from his chairmanship of the legislature's Public Safety Committee and a leadership position. Newton complied with the request, but says he has no plans to resign from the Senate.

He has not been charged with any crimes.

Williams said lawmakers are "monitoring the situation very carefully and closely and I'm hoping that it will be resolved one way or another in the very near future."

He would not say when or if the Senate might begin an investigation.

Williams said Connecticut has never taken the step of investigating and possibly expelling a legislator for violating the public trust.

"It has happened in some other states and we are doing the research right now in terms of what allegations, or in some cases specific convictions, have given rise to an expulsion procedure," he said.


Rep. Arthur O'Neill of Southbury, co-chairman of the legislature's impeachment committee that last year investigated then-Gov. John G. Rowland, a fellow Republican, renewed his call Wednesday for a Senate investigation of Newton's activities.

"We cannot expect the residents of Connecticut, who have suffered through several painful and embarrassing state and municipal corruption scandals, to have their faith in government restored when those responsible for upholding high ethical standards refuse to investigate such credible allegations of corruption," O'Neill said.

Newton cannot be impeached under the state constitution. But the Senate can investigate a member and, by a two-thirds vote, expel him.

The senate shouldn't have to go this far and the possibility of an investigation can all be avoided in Newton would do the honorable thing and just resign. The people of Connecticut have suffered enough from crooked politicians and the stubborn-minded sentator should do the right thing and disappear.