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Hoyer: number of investigations proves Congress is "most ethical" in history

By Paul Kane
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said that Democrats are living up to their promise to run the "most ethical" Congress in history, despite a new ethics committee document showing that his party's lawmakers have drawn far more scrutiny than Republicans.

Hoyer cited the release of the document, showing nearly three dozen members facing some form of ethics review, as evidence that Democrats had met the pledge to robustly enforce tougher new rules that were imposed in 2007 shortly after they took the majority.

"The good news is, there were a lot of people saying the ethics committee wasn't doing anything. They were disabused of that theory pretty emphatically," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday.

The Washington Post reported last week that the ethics committee and the new Office of Congressional Ethics, which conducts preliminary reviews and makes referrals to the full committee, were conducting far more investigations than had been known. The report was based on a confidential document that a junior staffer accidentally placed on a public network through her home computer. This allowed an outside source with no business before the ethics committee -- and no connection to Congress -- to discover it and give it to The Post.

Just seven Republicans were under scrutiny from either the ethics committee or the OCE, and a few of those cases were several years old, according to the document, which covered the committee's activities in late July.

More than 25 House Democrats had cases pending before one of the two investigative offices.

Hoyer said this proved that Democrats had not come into power and run a partisan panel, and that Democrats would allow the ethic investigators to pursue cases against the majority.

"They were also disabused of the fact that this is somehow being handled in a partisan fashion. Clearly, it's not, it's a bipartisan issue. ... I think that the reports indicated that they are doing their job. We'll have to see what the outcomes of their work are. And, to that extent, I think that we are doing exactly what we said we would do," Hoyer said.

Democrats under investigation include Reps. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of a subcommittee controlling the Pentagon's more than $600 billion annual budget; Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, with jurisdiction over tax and trade policy; and Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), chairman of the intelligence committee.

During the 2006 campaign, as Republicans endured criminal investigations into the actions of more than a dozen GOP incumbents, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a campaign pledge that if she were to be speaker, the newly empowered Democrats would "drain the swamp" of corruption on Capitol Hill and run the "most ethical Congress" in history.

By Paul Kane  |  November 3, 2009; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Dem. Leaders , Ethics and Rules  
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Next: House releases final bill--vote possible by weekend


"Hoyer: number of investigations proves Congress is "most ethical" in history".

All that really means is our politicians have managed to stifle meaningful investigation.

How ethical is that?

Posted by: AryeDirect | November 3, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

It isn't enough to investigate, it is necessary that the investigations lead somewhere. Rangel's investigation is a year old and it's still business as usual. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are still doing business as usual.

Congressmen invest more successfully than any other segment of the population: including financial professionals. I wonder why that is? Worth investigating? Only if one actually wants to end the corruption that is DC.

The swamp is deeper than it was a year ago.

Set the swamp on fire and shoot the rats as they flee!

Posted by: fbanta | November 4, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Congress is full of the biggest crooks in the world. How come Nigeria has a banking crisis and they send in the police to the big banks to investigate before bailing out monopolistic financial firms like we do? Too big in the world to be deemed corrupt and unethical? All the U.S. has is their big nuclear arsenal, and they give the Nobel Peace Prize to the President! Their consumers,businesses, and government are indebted to China. The only reason the Economist calls lobbying and "pork" reasonable political instruments for policy and deal-making (instead of bribery and corruption) is that the US readership is their biggest subscribers and the government and businesses are of the highest interest to their international readership. They don't want to alienate their sources too much by way of too heavy criticism. God Bless Our Nuclear Arsenal. We better,at least,hope, for Peace and Goodwill among Mankind (or some modern,crazy semblance of it) this commercialized christmas.

Posted by: ncoleman32 | November 4, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The rattlesnakes are being investigated by the pit vipers. Of course they will find no wrong-doing..... They just keep spewing their venom in the eyes of the citizens of this country to blind them.

Posted by: inowat | November 4, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: HEGARTY111 | November 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

What the number of investigations tells me is that there is a whole lot of lawbreaking going on. It is nice that some of this stuff is being investigated but why was it tolerated for so long? I will also be interested to see what is done about the criminal activity that is being investigated.

Will Charlie Rangel go to jail for tax evasion? Will he lose his chairmanship? Will he be drummed out of the Democratic Party? Or will Nancy Pelosi continue to cover for him?

What about John Murtha? Randy Cunningham went to jail for less than what John Murtha is accused of. Will Murtha even geta slap on the wrist? Somehow I doubt it.

How can a political party that supports the actions of Acorn, SEIU, AFL-CIO, Teamsters, and the ACLU, even talk about being ethical? If there were any ethics in the party then they would cut themselves loose from these crooks.

Posted by: edlarson | November 4, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Democrat leadership efforts to take us all for fools is getting a little too obvious.

No wonder independents are fleeing.

If they were serious about the swamp Murtha, Rangel, Dodd, Pelosi and Biden would be enjoying very comfortable undeserved retirements.

Posted by: sally62 | November 6, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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