Rep. Wu to Resign After Debt-Ceiling Resolution

David Wu photoRep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced his resignation following accusations that he engaged in an unwanted sexual encounter with a young woman.

Moments after Oregon’s two United States Senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, asked the congressman to step down, Wu addressed the House and said his resignation would go into effect after the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.

Wu came under fire for allegedly having an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the 18-year-old daughter of a friend over last Thanksgiving. Wu insists that he did nothing illegal with the teenager. The seven-term representative said he would not be running for an eighth term after the allegations came out last week.

Merkley and Wyden released a statement four days after reports on the Wu’s accusations surfaced:

The accusations against David Wu are both jarring and exceptionally serious. … While no one takes pleasure in asking a colleague to resign, we believe he can

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Maxine Waters Asks for Dismissal as Ethics Committee Hires Outside Counsel

Waters photoOn Monday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) asked the House Ethics Committee to dismiss the pending case against her. In the meantime, the Ethics Committee announced that it has hired an outside counsel to pursue the case.

John Bresnahan reported on documents obtained by the Politico that Waters’ attorney, Stanley Brand, say compromise the case. Late last year, former chief counsel of the Ethics Committee, Blake Chisam, advised then-Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) that two lead attorneys in the case, Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign, provided confidential materials to Republicans on the Ethics Committee.

Kim and Sovereign counterclaimed that Chisam withheld evidence against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) in an effort to protect Democrats. When questioned during the Rangel case, Chisam claimed, “I see no evidence of corruption.”

Waters’ case was put on hold last year when Lofgren suspended Kim and Sovereign from their jobs. They have both left employment by the … Read More ➡

Justice Dept. STILL Refuses to Disclose Mollohan Documents

Mollohan photoA watchdog group continues to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release documents from a four-year investigation of Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) previously filed Freedom of Information Act requests and administrative appeals seeking information about why the DOJ did not bring charges against Mollohan.

In 2006, the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched an investigation on Mollohan and his connections to five non-profit organizations he created that were managed by close friends and real estate partners.

Mollohan allegedly directed more than $250 million in earmarks to the non-profits and its beneficiaries, which contributed at least $397,122 to his campaigns between 1997 and 2006.

The probe began after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney for D.C. in February of 2006 alleging that Mollohan failed to report millions in assets on … Read More ➡

House Democrats Attack Republicans — On Ethics

Weiner photoConstituents of six House Republicans can expect to receive an automated phone call from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) informing them of their representative’s allegedly unethical practices. But DCCC’s accusations follow in the wake of many Democratic mishaps including the scandals involving ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and Rep. Maxine Waters.

Out of the six representatives under fire, four of them are new to the House. The congressmen include : Charlie Bass (N.H.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), David Rivera (Fla.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.).

In a statement released by the DCCC, Spokesman Jesse Ferguson claims GOP Representatives will be targeted:

House Republicans have been caught in various ethics scandals ranging from public corruption to finance violations to misuse of public funds. House Republican leaders pledged a zero tolerance policy to ethics problems in their Conference but their answer has been to turn a blind eye.

Calls to … Read More ➡

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 … Read More ➡

FBI Asked to Investigate Rep. Laura Richardson

Laura RichardsonA Congressional watchdog group has asked the FBI to open a criminal investigation of Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) exposed internal emails and press reports that show Richardson repeatedly coerced her congressional staffers to work on her campaign or risk getting fired. “Richardson was vicious to her staff,” CREW’s Executive Director Melanie Sloan said. “She went through a lot of members.”

In a letter to the FBI, CREW also said it has additional information that members of Richardson’s staff were forced to make political contributions to her campaign and run personal errands for the congresswoman. Such activity is in direct violation of federal laws stating that congressional office funds must be solely used for official purposes.

Richardson’s office released a statement denying CREW’s allegations. Her communications director, Ray Zaccaro, said the information was made public months ago. According to Zaccaro, Richardson’s office previously … Read More ➡

We Were Right About Maxine Waters’ Trial Delay

Maxine Waters photoNancy Pelosi was quick to refer the Anthony Weiner scandal to the House Ethics Committee. Yet other more substantial matters, like the Maxine Waters trial, have languished for months.

In 2008, Waters, D-Calif., arranged a meeting with the U.S. Department of Treasury and OneUnited Bank. OneUnited claimed it was in dire need of federal cash as a result of its failed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae investments. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) provided $12 million to the bank.

Following OneUnited’s bailout, regulators ordered the bank to hire a new independent board and raise its own capital. The struggling bank was also forced to stop paying for the president’s $6.4 million Malibu home and Porsche.

The representative’s ties to OneUnited were public prior to the incident, and she had outlined her involvement with the bank in multiple federal disclosure forms. The bank’s executives contributed $12,500 to Waters’s congressional campaigns. 

Waters’s … Read More ➡