We have already complained about the media double standard in the coverage of Senator Max Baucus' (D-MT) recent ethical problems. Now comes the clearest evidence yet in the form of this video. It already has 176,000 views on YouTube but it has so far been ignored by the major TV networks and newspapers. Let's remember that Baucus is the architect of the Senate-passed health care plan.
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), under fire for recommending his “girlfriend” for a U.S. Attorney post, was accused in 1999 by his former chief of staff Christine Niedermeier of making repeated sexual advances. She claimed that Baucus implored her to take weekend trips with him to destinations like Disney World.
Baucus was married to his second wife at the time so he would not have been able to invoke his current “shacking up” defense of his relationship with former staffer Melodee Hanes. Both Baucus and Hanes were still married at the time Baucus claims the relationship started, but separated from their spouses. Baucus statement last week twice said that the two were living together, as if it such a fact was exculpatory of the impropriety of a U.S. Senator having a romantic relationship with a staff member, and recommending her for high appointive office.
In the wake of reports that he recommended his girlfriend Melodee Hanes, who served on his Senate staff, to be a United States Attorney, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) issued this statement today:
Mel and I have a wonderful relationship. We are living together and enjoying spending time with each other and our families. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been.
Mel and I were both separated from our former spouses when we got together. It wasn’t an “affair.” As we grew closer and things progressed, we knew it was time to begin the process of Mel transitioning out of my Senate office.
The Ethics Committee document leaked last month to the Washington Post is putting a renewed spotlight on Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and the fact that he chairs the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the budget of the Justice Department, which is investigating his finances.
"There are a hundred ways he can influence what happens with the department's funding -- without one vote. Everything goes through his committee," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group that alleged in a complaint that the congressman had not reported the nature and increasing value of his real estate investments. "If that's not a conflict of interest, I don't know what is."
According to a confidential House Ethics Committee report produced in July, and described in the Washington Post today:
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. (emphasis ours)
For the first time, earmark champion Rep. Don Young (R-AK) has been linked to criminal activity by the government. It came in a memo filed last week in the sentencing of former VECO CEO Bill Allen, the central figure in the corruption probe that ensnared former Senator Ted Stevens.
In May, we expressed concern that the overturning of Stevens’ conviction — and Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to retry him — endangered the prosecution of Young and other corrupt Alaska politicians.
Last week, media reports indicated that a vacant lot on Bald Head Island, North Carolina co-owned by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and his former aide Laura Kuhns, and their spouses, is going to a foreclosure auction.
The lot was one of five properties co-owned by the Mollohans and Kuhnses that have been part of a controversy that prompted an on-going Justice Department investigation, and Mollohan’s resignation as Ranking Member on the House Ethics Committee in 2006.
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is the subject of a story in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register newspapers today about the investigation touched off by NLPC.
The immediate reason for revisiting the issue is the naming of Mollohan as one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress for the fourth year in a row by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Following a nine-month investigation, NLPC filed a 500-page Complaint on February 28, 2006 with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia detailing more than 250 misrepresentations and omissions on Mollohan’s disclosure reports, prompting an extensive probe by the FBI.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 22:04
Talking jets and Congress, with Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Penn.; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Jullian Epstein, Democratic strategist; Julie Roginsky, Democratic strategist; Ben Ferguson, radio show host; Peter Flaherty, National Legal and Policy Center; and CNBC's Dennis Kneale.
In the wake of the indictment of Richard Ianieri of Coherent Systems International, for whom Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) secured earmarks, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm has offered some thoughts. From OneNewsNow yesterday:
"These are crummy little firms. Many of them are located in Murtha's district. That's part of the game," he explains. "But if they have anything substantial to do, they sub it out to some real company and keep a big chunk for themselves. And out of that chunk they pay the political contributions that go hand-in-hand with this kind of operation."
Murtha, Boehm contends, is like the center of a target that prosecutors will not reach until they penetrate the outer layers of corruption.