Wynn Steps Down From Committees
U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.), under pressure from congressional ethics watchdogs after announcing he will resign from Congress in seven may 31 weeks to take a job at a lobbying law firm, has stepped down from his congressional committee assignments.
Wynn, an eight-term congressman who was defeated in February in a Democratic primary, said in a statement that he advised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday that he will leave his position on the House Energy and Commerce committee, as well as his subcommittee chairmanship, to avoid his presence becoming "fodder for partisan debate."
"While I believe I've complied with both the letter and spirit of the ethics laws, as well as engaged in the appropriate recusals, I am stepping down so that this issue will not be a distraction from the critical work of the committee to combat climate change, achieve energy independence, and protect our environment," he said in a statement.
Wynn was defeated in the primary by Prince George's attorney Donna F. Edwards. He announced last month that he will resign his seat early to became a partner at Dickstein Shapiro LLC.
Congressional reform advocates have been concerned that Wynn's decision to remain in Congress even after accepting the law firm job could create conflicts of interest. A coalition of six groups sent Wynn a letter today urging him to step down from his committee, before learning that he had already done so.
"Certainly, given the breath of the representation of the firm that he's going to... it would have been almost impossible for him to remain on that committee," said Joan Claybrook, president of advocacy group Public Citizen.
She said possibilities for conflicts continue to exist for Wynn and advised him to avoid "substantive issues" until his resignation becomes official on May 31.
"I think he would be best to just vote present [on the floor] and take this time to close out his office and finish his constituent activity," she said.
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