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Rep. Lofgren Chosen to Chair Ethics Panel

By Sarah Lovenheim and Ben Pershing

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) has picked fellow California Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) to take over one of the most politically sensitive positions in Congress -- chairwoman of the House ethics committee.

"Congresswoman Lofgren has demonstrated tremendous leadership in her 15 years of service to the House of Representatives, including her eight years on the House Ethics Committee," Pelosi said in a statement. "With this appointment, she will hold Members of Congress to the highest ethical standard.

Lofgren told CQ Politics, which first reported the move, "I'm honored to have been selected. ... Having served for eight years as a member of the committee earlier in my congressional tenure, I've seen firsthand the immensely important role it plays. Without the public's trust and confidence, government loses its legitimacy. The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct exists to ensure that the House of Representatives maintains that trust and confidence, and in turn its legitimacy."

Lofgren will succeed Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who stepped down as chairman of the ethics panel at the end of the 110th Congress. Green took over the position last summer after the previous chair, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), passed away in August.

Lofgren will run a committee tasked with deciding how to handle a probe into host of allegations against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Ways and Means Commitee and one of the most powerful Democrats in the House. The Rangel investigation was one of five formal investigations the ethics panel launched or continued in the 110th Congress and could prove difficult to manage, given that it has already prompted partisan discord on the committee.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 20, 2009; 5:23 PM ET
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Ethics and Rules , House  
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House ethics? An oxymoron.

Posted by: Bardip | January 26, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

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