House Speaker Jim Wright Thursday accused Republicans of pursuing a "partisan political vendetta" against him in seeking to investigate him for alleged breaches of confidential information.
"I can take it," Wright said. "As speaker, I'm in the kitchen, and I'm not offering to get out."The comments came a day after the Democrat-controlled House Intelligence Committee rejected an effort to turn over classified information for a requested ethics inquiry of whether Wright improperly disclosed a secret CIA operation in Nicaragua.
Wednesday's action, on a party-line vote during a closed-door session, had been mapped out a day earlier in a private meeting of committee Democrats, who hold an 11-6 majority on the panel.
Majority members argued that they were under no obligation to provide classified information relevant to Wright's disclosure, in part because the House ethics committee, which investigates breaches of confidentiality, had not formally asked for the material, said sources who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Chairman Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, pointedly reminded committee members as the meeting broke up that the rules prohibit members from discussing anything done in secret session. The reminder angered some Republican members, who complained that they apparently were being put under stricter rules than the speaker, and they vowed not to let the matter drop.