House Ethics Committee

Rep. Jeff Flake to Push Ethics Committee on PMA Probe

Jeff Flake photoRep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) will likely bring another resolution before the House of Representatives next week calling on the House Ethics Committee to release more details of the investigation into lawmakers linked to the PMA Group pay-to-play controversy, his office told the NLPC Tuesday.

Rep. Flake has been the lone member of Congress pushing for more information on the investigation since late February, when the Ethics Committee released a brief, 5-page report on its probe of the politicians who obtained earmarks for clients of the now-defunct PMA Group lobbying firm. The D.C.-based PMA shuttered its offices last year after the FBI began investigating allegations that the lobbying group exchanged campaign contributions for earmarks.

NLPC Complaint Alleges Rep. Gregory Meeks Got Sweetheart Deal on Home

Meeks photoOn Friday, NLPC asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) for paying $830,000 for a newly-built home in 2006 that was worth more than $1.2 million. The home was built by Robert Gaskin, a contractor who does work on numerous projects for which Meeks has secured taxpayer funds. Click here to download a 26-page pdf of the Complaint.

Classified a “mansion” by the City of New York, the Queens home has about 6,000 square feet, meaning that Meeks paid $138 per square feet. That price is less than half the cost per square foot for homes in Queens in both 2006 and 2007 according to the Trulia Real Estate Search service.

Fox News: NLPC Exposed Rangel Junket

Fox News Channel reports on the House Ethics Committee's admonition of Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) for accepting trips to Caribbean paid for by Citigroup and other corporations. NLPC President Peter Flaherty attended 2008 St. Maarten event and made photographs and recordings showing corporate involvement

Related:

Rangel Scandal Timeline

Flaherty: Rangel Dirty Even After Coming Clean (CNN/Anderson Cooper video)

Mollohan Conflict of Interest Scrutinized by Washington Post

Mollohan photoThe 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.

From Carol Leonnig in today’s Washington Post:

"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."

NY Times: Rangel is “Gloomy”

RangelNew York Times reporters Raymond Hernandez and Jim Rutenberg asserted yesterday:

There seems to be little joy in being Representative Charles B. Rangel these days…as an ethics investigation into his financial dealings continues, Mr. Rangel’s once-considerable clout is diminished and his spirits are often gloomy, friends and associates say, even as he begins to fight back.

Shouldn’t it be taxpayers who are gloomy as long as Rangel remains in office? Each new revelation about Rangel’s finances points to a pattern of corner cutting and corruption that has gone on for decades.

Rangel Says Ethics Committee Has Not Asked About His Finances

The Washington Post reports today that staff members of the House Ethics Committee met with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) in July and questioned him about a trip by Rangel and four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. According to the Post:

Rangel said he has not been interviewed by the committee to discuss other elements of the investigation, which involve his personal finances and whether House resources were improperly used to raise funds for a college center named for him.

It was NLPC that exposed both the Caribbean junket and Rangel’s failure to disclose, or pay taxes on, rental income from his Dominican Republic “villa.” While we welcome the investigation of the junket, we believe that tax evasion is a serious matter, and that Rangel should be treated no differently than any other citizen.

Leaked Document: Justice Probe of Mollohan Is Ongoing

MollohanAccording 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)

Mollohan Scandal Property Goes to Foreclosure

Mollohan photoLast 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.

Flaherty: Rangel Dirty Even After Coming Clean

October 8, 2009- CNN's Anderson Cooper reports on the House Ethics Committee expansion of its investigation of House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY). Joining Cooper are CNN Senior Congressional Correspondents Dana Bash and Joe Johns, as well as NLPC President Peter Flaherty. Click here for 4-page pdf transcript.

Rangel Scandal Timeline

With the spotlight this week on House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY), we have prepared this timeline of his current problems. Rangel has been involved in so much controversy that it is difficult to keep it all straight. I hope this helps.

July 11, 2008- New York Times’ David Kocieniewski reports that Rangel occupies three rent-stabilized apartments in a luxury building, and uses a fourth as a campaign office.

July 14, 2008- NLPC files Complaint with the Federal Election commission alleging use of a rent-stabilized apartment for a campaign office comprises an illegal corporate contribution from the landlord. Rangel announces he will close the office.

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