Seven Members missed Wednesday night’s vote to reverse a series of controversial ethics rules adopted in January, and the reasons behind their absences ranged from the dramatic to the mundane.
Perhaps the most interesting explanation came from the office of Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), who was detained in Togo when the nation descended into chaos following its recent presidential election.
“She was unavoidably detained,” said Brown spokesman David Simon. “She was monitoring the election there and chaos ensued, which shut down the borders.” As a result, Brown was unable to leave the country until the day after the vote.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), on the other hand, missed the vote for a much happier reason.
“The Congressman had a granddaughter born, Kate Westmoreland,” said Brian Robinson, Westmoreland’s spokesman. “That is why he was out of town.”
Four of the other five Members to miss the vote said they had unexpected situations arise, forcing their absence.
• Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.): “I was unable to vote on roll call No. 145 because I had to attend to a family matter, but I definitely would have voted ‘yes.’”
• Rep. Steven Rothman (D-N.J.): “He was out of town on family business,” spokesman Bricke Peyre said.
• Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.): “He had an unexpected family matter,” spokeswoman Karen Lightfoot said.
• Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.): “The congressman was in Mississippi attending a funeral,” spokesman Kyle Stewart said.
• Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.): Boucher was traveling and could not be reached for comment, according to his office.