The WWII Memorial has been a flashpoint in the continuing mess which is the government shutdown. Both Republicans and Democrats have showed up at the site for photo-ops and to thank the Veterans who have been visiting. The National Park Service Rangers have been allowing the Veterans through the barriers while the site is still closed to the general public as, they say, an exercise of their First Amendment rights. The rhetoric has been flying as the GOP tries to get out from under the responsibility they bear for it being closed in the first place.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) was one of those Congress Critters at the WWII Memorial on Wednesday. But instead of just visiting with the Veterans at the memorial, he decided to make a spectacle of himself. The crowd that witnessed the incident was supportive of the Ranger, who admirably displayed grace under pressure as the Congressman dressed her down for his actions.
But some supporters went further than just words: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a complaint against Rep. Neugebauer with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The watchdog group filed the complaint on Friday. CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan explained why:
“Rep. Neugebauer’s mistreatment of a federal employee who was doing her job is disgraceful. The blame for the government shutdown and the resulting closure of the memorials lies squarely on the shoulders of lawmakers like Rep. Neugebauer who refuse to fund our government. Rep. Neugebauer’s demeaning treatment of the ranger reinforces the commonly held belief that members of Congress are arrogant and have an over-inflated sense of superiority. The House cannot permit its members to berate federal employees for a government shutdown for which Congress is responsible. Rep. Neugebauer needs to be held accountable for his reprehensible conduct.”
CREW says that the Congressman violated House Rule 27, which states that all members of the House must conduct themselves “… in a manner that reflects creditably on the House…” at all times. By attacking the NPS Ranger, who was essentially volunteering her time for the WWII Veterans, they maintain that Neugebauer abused his position. While they don’t expect an investigation, CREW hopes that the Congressman will at least get a letter of reprimand.
But one person in the government appreciated the Ranger’s service and composure. Vice-President Joe Biden called the National Park Service Ranger who was the object of Rep. Neugebauer’s hissy fit to tell her he was proud of her. His office Tweeted about it later:
Indeed, Mr. Vice-President. We might not know her name but we can all agree that, for her diligence in the face of no pay and for putting up with abuse from a jackass who thinks he’s better than her, we are all proud.