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)
Of course, the “conservative group” is NLPC. 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.
Mollohan says he is unaware of the investigation. This is interesting. On April 21, 2006, House Speaker Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that Mollohan would temporarily step aside as ranking Democrat on the Ethics Committee until the investigation was complete. Mollohan has not assumed his previous post. The Ranking member is now Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).
The Ethics Committee document was not supposed to be made public. According to a statement released last night by the Committee:
…this unlawful access to confidential information involved the use of peer-to-peer file sharing software on the personal computer of a junior staffer, who is no longer employed by the Committee, while working from home.
The document was provided to the Washington Post, which reported today:
The 22-page “Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report” gives brief summaries of ethics panel investigations of the conduct of 19 lawmakers and a few staff members. It also outlines the work of the new Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body that initiates investigations and provides recommendations to the ethics committee. The document indicated that the office was reviewing the activities of 14 other lawmakers. Some were under review by both ethics bodies.