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13 Democrats Facing Probes as Recess Begins

By National Journal, National Journal - August 4, 2009

nationaljournal.com > Under the Influence

By Beth Sussman

As Congress heads into its summer recess, some members have more worries to take home with them than others.

According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 17 representatives and senators are known to currently be under investigation for breaking ethical standards. Of those under investigation, 13 are Democratic members and four are Republican members.

Charges range from steering earmarked funds toward associates to tax evasion to receiving preferential mortgage rates.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct does not release information regarding which members are under investigation, but a July committee report stated that 26 investigations had been underway since the beginning of the 111th Congress, 11 of which were carried over from the 110th Congress and 15 of which began this Congress. Four investigations had been resolved in that time period. A Senate Ethics Committee official couldn't be reached for comment.

According to CREW's records, the lawmakers currently under investigation are: Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Rep. Jesse Jackson, D-Ill., Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., Rep. Allan Mollohan, D-W.Va., Rep. Timothy Murphy, R-Pa., Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Richardson is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics in relation to a home she owned in Sacramento that was in foreclosure.

So should the public wonder if Democrats as a part are more ethically challenged than Republicans at this point? CREW spokeswoman Naomi Seligman doesn't think so. She says more Democrats than Republicans are under investigation because more Democrats are in Congress right now.

"I don't think it indicates anything for the parties," Seligman said. "It takes power to abuse it. It's the cycle of things here."

Craig Holman, legislative representative for watchdog group Public Citizen, said it is typical that the majority party would be dealing with more ethics questions.

"A lot of the money and influence peddling is going to flow disproportionately towards Democrats," Holman said.

Holman is impressed with California Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership efforts on ethics reform despite the number of Democrats who are under investigation, saying she "has done a phenomenal job when it comes to passing the strictest ethics rules that we've seen on Capitol Hill."

To post a comment, you must provide a name and a valid e-mail address. Messages must be limited to 400 words. By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. Although Under the Influence does not monitor comments posted to this site (and has no obligation to), it reserves the right to delete, edit, or move any material that it deems to be in violation of this rule.

nationaljournal.com > Under the Influence

By Beth Sussman

As Congress heads into its summer recess, some members have more worries to take home with them than others.

According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 17 representatives and senators are known to currently be under investigation for breaking ethical standards. Of those under investigation, 13 are Democratic members and four are Republican members.

Charges range from steering earmarked funds toward associates to tax evasion to receiving preferential mortgage rates.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct does not release information regarding which members are under investigation, but a July committee report stated that 26 investigations had been underway since the beginning of the 111th Congress, 11 of which were carried over from the 110th Congress and 15 of which began this Congress. Four investigations had been resolved in that time period. A Senate Ethics Committee official couldn't be reached for comment.

According to CREW's records, the lawmakers currently under investigation are: Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Rep. Jesse Jackson, D-Ill., Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., Rep. Allan Mollohan, D-W.Va., Rep. Timothy Murphy, R-Pa., Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Richardson is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics in relation to a home she owned in Sacramento that was in foreclosure.

So should the public wonder if Democrats as a part are more ethically challenged than Republicans at this point? CREW spokeswoman Naomi Seligman doesn't think so. She says more Democrats than Republicans are under investigation because more Democrats are in Congress right now.

"I don't think it indicates anything for the parties," Seligman said. "It takes power to abuse it. It's the cycle of things here."

Craig Holman, legislative representative for watchdog group Public Citizen, said it is typical that the majority party would be dealing with more ethics questions.

"A lot of the money and influence peddling is going to flow disproportionately towards Democrats," Holman said.

Holman is impressed with California Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership efforts on ethics reform despite the number of Democrats who are under investigation, saying she "has done a phenomenal job when it comes to passing the strictest ethics rules that we've seen on Capitol Hill."

To post a comment, you must provide a name and a valid e-mail address. Messages must be limited to 400 words. By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. Although Under the Influence does not monitor comments posted to this site (and has no obligation to), it reserves the right to delete, edit, or move any material that it deems to be in violation of this rule.

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