House Staffer Leaks Ethics Report to WaPo: More Than 30 Under Inquiry

October 30, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Last evening in the House chamber, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Ethics Committee stepped up to speak, interrupting House voting, to make a startling announcement. Lofgren said that the Washington Post had obtained a confidential ethics report and the newspaper had been contacting lawmakers named in the document. She described the release of the sensitive document, as a form of hacking. And Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL), the committee’s ranking Republican, called the breach an isolated incident.

According to a piece in the Washington Post this morning, it’s now known that a junior staffer taking work home, inadvertently placed the document on a file-sharing network. A different low level staffer found the sensitive report and made it available to the Washington Post. The junior staffer has been fired. No word is available on the employment status of the low level staffer that leaked the document.

Lofgren cautioned that, “No inference should be made as to any member,” named in the confidential report. She said the ethics panel is required to investigate any issues brought to the panel’s attention, whether in person or from a newspaper article.

The leaked 22-page “Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report,” summarizes ongoing ethics investigations of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides. As noted by the Post:

“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.”

The document mentions a previously known investigation of allegations of corporate influence peddling, by members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, but the report reveals seven lawmakers under inquiry, which was not known.

The report also lists the ongoing ethics inquiry of House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), offering new details about a trip to a luxury resort, underwritten by corporations, which may be in violation of new ethics rules. Rangel has not yet testified before the panel on the financial part of the inquiry against him. “I’m waiting for that, anxiously,” said Rangel.

Rep. Maxine Waters, (D-CA) a high-ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, is under investigation for her alleged role in steering bailout funds to OneUnited Bank of Massachusetts, in which her husband owns at least $250,000 in stock.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) is also mentioned in the document in an alleged pay for play investigation involving an overheard conversation with an Israeli operative in 2005. But In June 2009, a Justice Department official directed a letter to Harman’s attorney stating that she was “neither a subject nor a target” of a criminal investigation.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) was also mentioned in the ethics document, but on Thursday the panel said it found no ethical violation in its investigation and was officially ending the inquiry.

The House Ethics Committee issued a statement in response to the leaked document saying, the panel “is taking all appropriate steps to deal with this issue.” The ethics panel noted that neither the committee nor the House’s information systems were compromised.

See the Washington Post for more


Comments

4 Responses to “House Staffer Leaks Ethics Report to WaPo: More Than 30 Under Inquiry”

  1. House Ethics Panel More Than 30 Under Inquiry | eNewsReference.com – www.enewsreference.com on October 30th, 2009 11:07 am

    […] York Daily News Congressional ethics report leaked, reveals names The Associated Press House Staffer Leaks Ethics Report to WaPo: More Than 30 Under Inquiry ChattahBox House ethics panels to probe Waters, Richardson Los Angeles Times House Ethics Panel […]

  2. Steve on October 30th, 2009 11:11 am

    The inmates are running the asylum….

  3. Valuable Internet Information » House Staffer Leaks Ethics Report to WaPo: More Than 30 Under … on October 30th, 2009 12:57 pm

    […] See original here:  House Staffer Leaks Ethics Report to WaPo: More Than 30 Under … […]

  4. Chrystal K. on October 30th, 2009 6:30 pm

    Hmm…ethics investigation…odd.

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