Ethics Committee (Finally) Staffs Up Amid Trial Delays

Waters photoLast week’s announcement by the House Ethics Committee that it is investigating Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), a year after questions about his finances were in the headlines, has put the spotlight back on the Committee’s ability to do its job.

The Committee recently hired 10 new and internal counsels, bumping their staff up to 23 members. But even with the beefed-up staff, the status of other, more high profile cases is still unknown.

It’s taken about seven months for the Ethics Committee to hire new staffers since the chief counsel staff director resigned and two senior counsels were placed on administrative leave due to reported disagreements regarding Rep Maxine Waters’ (D-Calif.) trial. The staff delays have been cited as a reason for the postponed trials of Waters and former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.).

Ethics Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) released a statement claiming that the 10 new appointees will permit the …

House Ethics Committee Investigating Rep. Gregory Meeks

Meeks photoThe House Ethics Committee on Friday announced that it would “extend” a previously unacknowledged review of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY).

In January 2010, we exposed Meeks involvement in a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received it, among other questionable dealings. In March 2010, we asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Meeks for paying $830,000 for a newly built home in 2006 that was worth more than $1.2 million. Click here to download a 26-page pdf of the Complaint.

Media coverage of these controversies reportedly prompted an FBI investigation of Meeks’ finances, and the convening of a Grand Jury. After Meeks was contacted by the FBI, he amended his financial disclosure forms in June 2010. He disclosed for the first time an unsecured $40,000 personal loan from Guyanese businessman Ed Ahmad.

The Ahmad loan was made in 2007, meaning …

Rep. Meeks’ Links to Jihadists Get Scrutiny

Meeks photoRep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) lobbied against the federal investigation of a Muslim professor whose charity is suspected of funding Osama bin Laden, according to 2006 documents.

The congressman appealed to several federal agencies on behalf of Islamic scholar Anwar Hajjaj, and complained that the terror-linked teacher dealt with “unwarranted scrutiny” when he returned through U.S. airports from trips to Middle Eastern countries.

According to letters obtained by the New York Post, Meeks described Hajjaj as a “highly regarded” scholar who led Friday prayers on Capitol Hill. The congressman also called the professor “a pioneer in distance-based learning of Islam” at the American Open University, in a letter to former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

The Post reported that Hajjaj has run two charities that were co-founded by Osama bin Laden’s nephew and are accused of funding al Qaeda. The teacher formerly headed the Taibah International Aid Association, and was …