March 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Rep. Michele Bachmann and her short-lived campaign last year for the GOP presidential nomination are being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics. A lawyer for the Minnesota Republican said Monday that Bachmann is cooperating with the investigation. The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is an independent investigative body established by the House five years ago to conduct preliminary investigations into allegations of misconduct by House members or their aides.
August 7, 2010
Nearly four years after taking control of Congress, Democrats are still at work draining that darned ethical swamp. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) pledged that things would be different under her leadership. But the Capitol smells as awful as it did under Republican control. In the last week alone, two long-serving House Democrats have been accused of violating ethics rules. Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York, former chairman of the powerful committee that writes tax laws, was charged with 13 ethics counts ranging from tax violations to abuse of office.
January 14, 2011
An ethics complaint filed Wednesday alleges that the new congressman from Bucks County missed his swearing-in to attend a fund-raiser. If that's true, it's a pretty good sign that Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) believes his main job is to raise money to get reelected. By effectively launching his reelection bid even before taking the oath of office, Fitzpatrick comes off as cynical or clueless. Considering that he held this congressional seat before being exiled for two terms by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.)
December 3, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - The House Ethics Committee said Friday that it would continue investigating allegations that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D., Ill.) or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008. The committee also released an initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics that said there was "probable cause" to believe that Jackson either directed a third party or had knowledge of a third party's effort to persuade the since-convicted Blagojevich to appoint Jackson to the seat vacated by Barack Obama in exchange for campaign cash.
January 14, 2008
When House lawmakers return to Washington tomorrow, they need to strengthen a proposal to enforce their own ethics rules. It was an entire year ago when Speaker Nancy E. Pelosi (D., Calif.) pledged to get tough with corrupt, unethical lawmakers. But after the applause died down, nothing much happened. Late last year, a House task force finally gave its recommendations. It proposed creating an Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate complaints against lawmakers and forward its findings to the House Ethics Committee.
December 23, 2010
The incoming House Republican majority took a positive step Wednesday by resisting calls to get rid of the Office of Congressional Ethics. There has been grumbling in both parties that the OCE should be discontinued. If that were to happen, opponents argued, the logical time would be when Republicans take over control of the House in early January. But the discontent over the OCE is a tribute to its effectiveness, and a good reason to keep the office. Prior to the OCE's creation under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.
September 12, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - When New Jersey Rep. Rob Andrews used campaign funds to pay for a family trip to Scotland, an unusual compliance officer signed off: his wife. Camille Andrews, a lawyer and associate dean at the Rutgers-Camden law school, also oversees legal questions about Andrews' political spending. So when the Democratic congressman decided in 2011 that the couple and their two daughters should fly to Edinburgh and stay in a five-star hotel for a wedding, he relied on her judgment that they could use campaign accounts to cover the $30,115 tab, according to statements in a recently unveiled ethics investigation.
November 19, 2009
Congressmen are getting cranky about the work of a new independent House ethics board, and that's a good sign. The nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics was created at the urging of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) in March 2008 to look into complaints against lawmakers and, if necessary, refer them to the House Ethics Committee for possible discipline. The new office was devised because the Ethics Committee wasn't doing its job of enforcing standards of conduct. Along with the new office, private citizens for the first time would be allowed to file complaints against lawmakers, too. You can tell that the OCE is already rubbing some lawmakers the wrong way. It was assailed by the Ethics Committee for what that panel called a "fundamentally flawed" probe of Rep. Sam Graves (R., Mo.)
August 15, 2010 |
I don't think the ethics charges against black Reps. Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) are racially motivated. But as an African American of a certain age, I can't divorce my feelings about the allegations from the history of racism in this country. Having grown up when bias wasn't just common, but was legal, I'm sensitive to the possibility that race played a role in a decision. In fact, only about a year ago I had an encounter with a police officer who stopped me that made me question whether he was a racist.