U.S. Congressman Ted Poe was one of 20 House members who voted against a resolution to return to the old House Ethics Rules. The vote took place on Wednesday night and passed overwhelmingly, 406-20. Poe released the following statement in response to the vote.

"As a former prosecutor and judge in Houston for over 22 years and now as the United States Representative for Texas 2nd Congressional District, I have assumed multiple oaths to uphold our nations Constitution. This hallowed manuscript prescribes a presumption of innocence a right along with due process that is bestowed upon each and every citizen.

Individuals who serve in elected office often experience more scrutiny than private citizens. When allegations are made against them, however, public officials should still receive the same presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Accordingly, in January, three changes were made to the Congressional Ethics rules. First, Members of Congress would have the right to their own lawyer instead of one appointed by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. Second, Representatives would be afforded the opportunity to learn the identity of their accuser rather than his or her name remaining anonymous. Finally, the new rules stipulated that after 45 days, if there were no finding, the charges would be dismissed for lack of prosecution. Previously, ethics probes were permitted to linger indefinitely thereby denying Congressmen and women the equivalent of a speedy trial.

Three months ago, I supported these modifications to the Ethics procedure because they are constitutional concepts, which would have been applied to Members of Congress regardless of party affiliation. Last night, I remained consistent in voting to ensure that even Members of Congress receive their basic constitutional rights.

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