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Thread: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

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    Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.

    The report appears to have been inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network, and it was provided to The Washington Post by a source not connected to the congressional investigations. The committee said Thursday night that the document was released by a low-level staffer.

    The ethics committee is one of the most secretive panels in Congress, and its members and staff members sign oaths not to disclose any activities related to its past or present investigations. Watchdog groups have accused the committee of not actively pursuing inquiries; the newly disclosed document indicates the panel is conducting far more investigations than it had revealed.

    Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, the committee chairman, Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), interrupted a series of House votes to alert lawmakers about the breach. She cautioned that some of the panel's activities are preliminary and not a conclusive sign of inappropriate behavior.

    ...

    The 22-page "Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report" gives brief summaries of ethics panel investigations of the conduct of 19 lawmakers and a few staff members. It also outlines the work of the new Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body that initiates investigations and provides recommendations to the ethics committee. The document indicated that the office was reviewing the activities of 14 other lawmakers. Some were under review by both ethics bodies.
    Many of the broad outlines of the cases cited in the July document are known -- the committee announced over the summer that it was reviewing lawmakers with connections to the now-closed PMA Group, a lobbying firm. But the document indicates that the inquiry was broader than initially believed. It included a review of seven lawmakers on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee who have steered federal money to the firm's clients and have also received large campaign contributions.

    The document also disclosed that:

    -- Ethics committee staff members have interviewed House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) about one element of the complex investigation of his personal finances, as well as the lawmaker's top aide and his son. Rangel said he spoke with ethics committee staff members regarding a conference that he and four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended last November in St. Martin. The trip initially was said to be sponsored by a nonprofit foundation run by a newspaper. But the three-day event, at a luxury resort, was underwritten by major corporations such as Citigroup, Pfizer and AT&T. Rules passed in 2007, shortly after Democrats reclaimed the majority following a wave of corruption cases against Republicans, bar private companies from paying for congressional travel.

    Rangel said he has not discussed other parts of the investigation of his finances with the committee. "I'm waiting for that, anxiously," he said.

    -- The Justice Department has told the ethics panel to suspend a probe of Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), whose personal finances federal investigators began reviewing in early 2006 after complaints from a conservative group that he was not fully revealing his real estate holdings. There has been no public action on that inquiry for several years. But the department's request in early July to the committee suggests that the case continues to draw the attention of federal investigators, who often ask that the House and Senate ethics panels refrain from taking action against members whom the department is already investigating.

    Mollohan said that he was not aware of any ongoing interest by the Justice Department in his case and that he and his attorneys have not heard from federal investigators. "The answer is no," he said.

    -- The committee on June 9 authorized issuance of subpoenas to the Justice Department, the National Security Agency and the FBI for "certain intercepted communications" regarding Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.). As was reported earlier this year, Harman was heard in a 2005 conversation agreeing to an Israeli operative's request to try to obtain leniency for two pro-Israel lobbyists in exchange for the agent's help in lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to name her chairman of the intelligence committee. The department, a former U.S. official said, declined to respond to the subpoena.
    This is a huge leak.
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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    You always make such shocking OPs... all I can say again is wow!

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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    It will be very interesting to see how this revelation is played off. Until we see the reaction from this being made public along with a complete list of those involved and the alleged violations there really isn't a lot to say other than this is bigger than single story of corruption I can remember.
    I'm sure some will be licking their lips over the prospect of some expulsions and I have to admit if the right people are found to be among the guilty I too might be persuaded to at least smile a bit.

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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    I would like to take a huge leak on those Congressmen.

    Seriously, I hope something happens with this.
    Last edited by danarhea; 10-30-09 at 06:23 AM.
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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    I would like to take a huge leak on those Congressmen.

    Seriously, I hope something happens with this.
    Dont hold your breath. When was the last time Congress (regardless of who was in charge) did anything to discipline it self without being forced by a media crapstorm of epic proportions?

    I mean look at the history. Foley, kept under raps by the very same congress for years, while he patrolled for children. Or Ney, admitted criminal only stepping down when the conviction was final and he had to go to jail. Or Rangel, while not convicted, there is considerable "issues" with the way he does business, or anyone on the CREW watch list.

    Naw, nothing will happen.. money talks and gets you out of jail free.. or at least delays it long enough for the pension to be secured.
    PeteEU

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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    The real problem we have here, besides the fact we have some hoplessly corrupt congressmen, is we don't have an unbiased mainstream press we can count on to keep us informed. Wrangel has been under investigation for quite some time and the only places I'm seeing the story is the joe scarborough show and fox. Honestly, this country is looking like/acting like a a banana republic all the time.

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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    I don't know the specific facts, but Maxine Waters's conflict of interest seems very obvious to me.

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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    I think we ought to praise the staffer that leaked it, and nail the cock roaches before they scurry.


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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch View Post
    The real problem we have here, besides the fact we have some hoplessly corrupt congressmen, is we don't have an unbiased mainstream press we can count on to keep us informed. Wrangel has been under investigation for quite some time and the only places I'm seeing the story is the joe scarborough show and fox. Honestly, this country is looking like/acting like a a banana republic all the time.
    i've seen plenty of press on rangel. but the investigation is ongoing, with not much to report on right now.

    Originally Posted by johnny_rebson:

    These are the same liberals who forgot how Iraq attacked us on 9/11.


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    Re: Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    Quote Originally Posted by liblady View Post
    i've seen plenty of press on rangel. but the investigation is ongoing, with not much to report on right now.

    And that's just it. Why is it still "ongoing"? Shouldn't there be some sort of conclusion after over a year of investigation? Shouldn't Rangel have stepped down from his position? A republican would have had to.


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