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House: Mollohan Steps Down From Ethics Post

Bowing to pressure from Republicans, fellow Democrats and the news media, Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) today stepped down from his post as the ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee.

"Today I have accepted, at his request, the decision of Congressman Alan Mollohan to step aside temporarily as the ranking member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in a statement. "Congressman Howard Berman, who previously served as the senior member of the Ethics Committee, has agreed to accept my appointment to return temporarily as ranking member."

Mollohan's decision follows several weeks of controversy sparked by a complaint filed with the Justice Department by the National Legal & Policy Center alleging -- among other things -- that Mollohan had inaccurately reported his wealth in past personal financial disclosures. The complaint also called into question the massive increase in Mollohan's household assets over the past four years, the same period during which he secured more than $200 million in earmarks for nonprofit groups that he helped to establish.

Mollohan has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the matter, but Republicans -- led by National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) have called on him to forfeit his Ethics Committee post at least until the Justice Department decides whether it should open open a formal investigation into the complaint. (The Washington Post and New York times editorial boards have also encouraged Mollohan to step aside.)

Republicans pressured Pelosi to call for Mollohan's resignation, pointing out that she was a leading voice for Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) to step down as chairman of the House Administration Committee after he was implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

The political ramifications of Mollohan's move are uncertain, but at first glance it appears to hand Republicans a rhetorical arrow for the fall campaign. Democrats have made much of the so-called "culture of corruption" they say pervades Republican-controlled Washington, a message that is muddied somewhat by Mollohan's resignation from the committee and the problems surrounding Louisiana Rep. Bill Jefferson (D). The move could also spell trouble for Mollohan's reelection bid; he is being opposed by state Del. Chris Wakim (R).

Reynolds said late Friday that he was "shocked" that it took Mollohan so long to resign his post. "The deep-rooted Democrat culture of hypocrisy has been exposed once again," Reynolds said.

Pelosi, however, struck a strident tone in her statement, insisting that the allegations against Mollohan are "an attempt to deflect attention from the long list of Republican criminal investigations, indictments, plea agreements and resignations that have resulted from the reported long-term and extensive criminal enterprise run out of House Republican leadership offices."

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 21, 2006; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: McCain's Strange Bedfellows


Are you sure 80582 about this?!?

Posted by: Flots Masriach | September 21, 2006 5:43 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that this smearing, right-wing group called the NLPC is showing its true color--RED. I wonder if a connection between Boehm and Karl Rove will be exposed? The 500 page "secret" report does not allege anything--it only points out a substantial increase in real estate. If there was something to hide, why did Mollohan DISCLOSE the increase??? Rove has all the time in the world now to paint this perfectly legal financial arrangement with a broad brush to confuse the issue with "Tom Delay & Cronies, Inc." Nothing could be further from the truth, but a small minority of Americans will lap up this kool-aid. Republicans disgust me....

Posted by: CB Flake | April 25, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

How quickly we forget. Mollohan was the one standing up to the Repubs' attempt to gut House ethics and allow DeLay to stay in leadership while under indictment. M. Quinn, get a clue, this isn't corruption -- if they thought they had something on Mollohan they would be holding hearings -- this is just smear, smear, smear, as payback, payback, payback. They know they can't sustain any charges. They only want to hurt him as badly as possible. Let's just hope that the Post, Times and other papers actually report on the underhanded, shady efforts of the right wing hit squads behind this and save their editorial powder until they know what their editorializing about.

Posted by: Jim | April 25, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

require them to obey the same laws that you



establish a Rudy Guilliani attitude towards our Congress, lawmakers, Administration and bureaucrats including NSA, CIA, FBI and Secret Service...

IF they break the law, any law, not in the line of duty...they get arrested.

parking ticket, tax evasion, hiring illegals, stealing, dui, etcetera...

WE need a group of people passing laws that affect them too,

that they are willing to abide by.....

for example we could start with this small change:

enforcing the law against illegal hiring of illegal aliens should be easy....

those that have to compete against them, can pretty easily point out the violations, perhaps we should have a bounty,

turning in those that hire illegals.

It's a lot easier to lock up a few hundred, violaters for a few months with a felony charge that radically alters their ability to bid on jobs or to vote or to not register with local law enforcement...

you wouldn't have to do it for very long...

keep the bounty in place for 5 years.

try it.

Guilliani found that if he arrested anybody commiting any crime in NYC about 10 years ago, that the felons that would have commited the most heinious crimes were already in jail because they were



sound like any congess peoples that you know?

cunning ham, deal aide, cheyney/oil-interests/futures market/$380,000,000 payoff.

partisan-ship is like believeing in professional wrestling aint real, it's for the rubes...

crack down on corruption, as an ordinary thing, enforce the laws against your congress...

publish names.


Posted by: you want a better government quickly | April 24, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse


Are you joking? Or just projecting?

Skip has exposed the SOFT underbelly of the Dems, they will fight to defend their own corrupt politicans while pointing fingers and mocking the Republicans. Thank you SKIP for showing us that the Democrats are like children in the sandbox who won't share the shovel.

Ummm, Skip bemoans the two party system, hardle seems like a Dem to me.

If you don't mind, let me go ahead and fix your comment.

Karen has exposed the SOFT underbelly of the Republicans, they will fight to defend their own corrupt politicans while pointing fingers and mocking the Democrats. Thank you Karen for showing us that the Republicans are like children in the sandbox who won't share the shovel.

See, how easy that was? And now it's actually accurate, as the Cunningham, DeLay, Abramoff, and Libby indictments/convictions far outshine accusations by right-wing hit squads who don't even publish their accusations.

The best part of your post however, is when you do a super-retard-logic move and claim that anyone who points out the flaws in your argument is actually strenghtening it.

Boggles the mind. All I know is that 33% tells me one thing, you can fool all of the poeple some of the time (Iraq), some of the people all of the time (Fox News), but you can't fool all of the people all of the time (Democracy).

Posted by: Wah | April 24, 2006 1:53 AM | Report abuse

That's mighty kind of you Chris to give all the kudos over Mollohan stepping down to his 'powerful' friends on the Right but it ain't so, pal. The LEFT let it be known to Pelosi last week that we fully agreed with expected her to comply with the request by C.R.E.W., Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a great bi-partisan legal watchdog group, who suggested that Mollohan step down while the investigation is under way. The LEFT wants ALL of Washington cleaned cleaned up and, unlike the Right, will hold our own leaders accountable.

Posted by: M. Quinn | April 24, 2006 1:37 AM | Report abuse

I almost forgot the other reason to say that I don't think that there is much of a chance for Chris Wakim. Namely that no Democratic Congressional incumbent has lost in WV since Harley Staggers lost to Mollohan in 1992 in a race that included two incumbents due to redistricting because WV lost one seat in Congress that year. No Congressional incumbent has lost to a challenger in this state since Bob Wise was first elected over Rick Staton (R), and no Democratic incumbent has lost since Ken Hechler lost a write-in campaign to Nick Rahall (D) in 1976, after his failed gubernatorial bid in the Democratic primary. In short, Congressional incumbents just don't lose that often in this state, and it is even rarer for Democratic incumbents.

Posted by: Steve | April 22, 2006 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats are the ones who play dirty? Yeah, I don't remember any Democratic groups questioning the military service of John McCain (If memory serves me right, Democrats loudly condemned those attacks in 2000.) but I do remember right-wing front groups attacking McCain in 2000, Max Cleland (a triple amputee running against a draft dodger) in 2002, and John Kerry in 2004.

However, as someone who lives in the Mountain State (although not Mollohan's district) I have to wonder where the GOP and some media outlets get that Mollohan is in trouble. In his last campaign, he won 65% of the vote, and the GOP have been so intimidated by Mollohan that that was his first Republican opponent since 1992, and the only opposition he had in the general election in the five election cycles between was from a Libertarian candidate in 2000, who managed to get 8% of the vote. Until I see some sort of polling to suggest that Mollohan is in trouble, I cannot believe that is the case.

Finally, Tom DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury. While I have no problem with things playing themselves out with Mollohan, I think that it is ludicrous to try to make a "pox on both your houses" argument because of what Mollohan is accused of by some right-wing group that has produced no evidence at all of any wrongdoing. That being said, if it does come about, I will be the first person to call for Mollohan to step down.

Posted by: Steve | April 22, 2006 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Skip has exposed the SOFT underbelly of the Dems, they will fight to defend their own corrupt politicans while pointing fingers and mocking the Republicans. Thank you SKIP for showing us that the Democrats are like children in the sandbox who won't share the shovel.

Ok, if Tom DeLay is resigning in June, the Dems will use his DEAD body as the trophy to whack each and every Republican running in 2006. I call it DEAD, because he is politically dead, but his body parts will spew all over the nation as the media carries the Democrats polluted water to splash the body politic. Yes, the media must have a battle for 2006, so the reporters will put the Dems attacks in the headlines of newspapers, on TV and on radio.
The politics of personal destruction will not be over for years, it will be payback for Clinton, payback for Gore, payback for DeLay, and payback for whatever happens in 2006.
My God, I pray the GOP clobbers the Dems in 2006 so they will finally realize the nation is totally disgusted with their underhanded dirty politics. Now just watch, as soon as a Dem,liberal, or anti-Bush person reads this, they will attack him and attack the Republicans. Just wait, it will spark venom and won't provide any facts to back up their yapping.

Posted by: Karen | April 22, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm tempted to agree with 'Skip' that it would be a great idea to vote all the incumbents out.

However, I know what the NLPC is and everything they do smells. Rabid rightwing gutter trash.

Mollohan may be guilty or he may not -- as an earlier post suggests, the secret '500 page' complaint sounds a bit fishy, doesn't it?

Posted by: Drindl | April 22, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Corrupt politicians should be hung by the neck until dead. This Mollohan character took hundreds of millions from the taxpayers and funneled it to himself and friends. Another great Democrat unfairly attacked by Russ Limbaugh? I DON'T THINK SO. Vote ALL incumbents out this fall. We can't end up with a worse bunch. Elect all the independents you can. The two party system is just a big scam.

Posted by: Skip | April 22, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

What a great way for the republican party to ruin another great democrat congressman. Investigate,find very little,say they have filed a complaint and ruin a man's reputation by not telling him what is in the a reported "500 page complaint". This was done by a right wing group, NLPCwhich was established in 1993 and endorsed by Rush Limbaugh.Enough said!

Posted by: D.H. Parker | April 22, 2006 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure exactly what standing, if any, someone has to have to file a complaint with the Justice dept. NLPC apparently has such standing and they filed a complaint. I would assume could file a complaint against some Republican they thought was deserving of such.

There would appear to be some substance behind the complaints. Even the Washington Post editorializes:

"All of these entanglements raise enough ethical issues to justify an inquiry; in fact, this would be just the kind of thing that a functioning ethics committee -- that is, an entity that hasn't existed throughout the 109th Congress -- ought to tackle. Perhaps there's nothing more going on here than West Virginia coziness, but this is an awful lot of smoke to have swirling around the ethics panel's ranking Democrat. "The way this has been spun out it has allowed people to put perfectly honest things in very close proximity, side by side, and ask people, please draw a sinister conclusion here," Mr. Mollohan told us. Yes, but isn't that what the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety -- the kind of thing the ethics committee regularly warns members to avoid -- is all about?"

People interested in media fairness should notice how this event is covered, and the attention that is paid to it. Tom Delay's guilt is no more a certainty than is this guy's, but we all know how hot the spotlight shown on him.

Will Mollohan receive the same front page treatment, especially given the fact that Democrats have been the ones to raise the issue of ethics lately, and this guy was their party's leader on that very committee?

Sounds like a pretty interesting story, as poitical stories go, but will it be told? Interesting timing, Fri. after the evening news is over.

Posted by: Gary | April 22, 2006 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Since when did U.S. Attorney's offices start taking "reports" from partisan advocacy groups? Mollohan has a good reputation on the Hill. This smells like pure DeLay payback.

Posted by: David | April 21, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

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