For Dems, Ethics Investigations Are Just Another Part of The Game

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is a political committee devoted to maintaining and increasing the 239-member Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 Last week the House Ethics Committee found that Democrat Rep. Laura Richardson (CA) pressured taxpayer-funded official staffers to campaign on her behalf, destroyed evidence and tampered with witnesses:

RICHARDSON USED TAXPAYER RESOURCES FOR CAMPAIGN, FORCED STAFFERS TO PERFORM CAMPAIGN WORK, DESTROYED EVIDENCE AND TRIED TO INFLUENCE WITNESSES: “The Investigative Subcommittee unanimously concluded that there was substantial reason to believe that Representative Laura Richardson violated…standards of conduct by using House Resources for campaign, personal, and non official purposes, by requiring her official staff to perform campaign work, and by obstructing the investigation of the Committee and the Investigative Subcommittee through the altercation or destruction of evidence, the deliberate failure to produce documents responsive to requires for information and a subpoena, and attempting to influence the testimony of witnesses.” (“Report In The Matter of Allegations Relating To Representative Laura Richardson,” House Committee on Ethics, 8/1/2012)

DURING THE INVESTIGATION, RICHARDSON WAS MORE INTERESTED HER SOFTBALL GAME THAN HER ETHICS VIOLATIONS: “During the interview, Representative Richardson made complaints about its length and ultimately demanded that it end so she could participate in an annual Congressional softball game.” (“Report In The Matter of Allegations Relating To Representative Laura Richardson,” House Committee on Ethics, 8/1/2012)

RICHARDSON SHOWED NO REMORSE OVER HER VIOLATIONS AND REFUSED TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY: “In sum, Representative Richardson's submission continues the approach she has taken in this matter from the outset: an utter absence of true remorse for her misuse of official resources and, equally as significant, for what she has put her staff through, as well as a near total deflection of responsibility for this matter.” (“Report In The Matter of Allegations Relating To Representative Laura Richardson,” House Committee on Ethics, 8/1/2012)

THREATENED OFFICIAL STAFFERS IF THEY DIDN’T HELP HER CAMPAIGN: “Ms. Scott’s [Richardson’s communication’s director’s] testimony identifies interactions…wherein Representative Richardson pressured her to perform campaign work after Representative Richardson was fully aware of this Committee’s investigation…̀If you don’t volunteer on my campaign you are not going to continue working here. That’s how I [Ms. Scott] took it.’”(“Report In The Matter of Allegations Relating To Representative Laura Richardson,” House Committee on Ethics, 8/1/2012)

ONE STAFFER, A DISABLED VETERAN, WOULD “RATHER BE AT WAR IN AFGHANISTAN” THAN WORK FOR RICHARDSON: “Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who oversaw the investigation, said that a disabled veteran who worked in Richardson’s office as part of the Wounded Warrior Project wrote in a letter of resignation that the work environment was so hostile that she’d ‘rather be at war in Afghanistan’ than continue working for Richardson.” (Richard Simon, “House Disciplines Rep. Laura Richardson For Ethical Misconduct,” Los Angeles Times’ “Politics Now” blog, 8/2/2012)

ETHICS COMMITTEE HEARD “DESPERATE, SOMETIMES EMOTIONAL, PLEAS FOR HELP” FROM RICHARDSON’S STAFF: “During the investigation, Bonner said, the committee heard ‘desperate, sometimes emotional, pleas for help’ from Richardson staff members.” (Richard Simon, “House Disciplines Rep. Laura Richardson For Ethical Misconduct,” Los Angeles Times’ “Politics Now” blog, 8/2/2012)

Sadly, the Richardson case is just one chapter in the long saga of House Democrats with ethics problems:

THREE ETHICS GROUPS CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO REP. JOHN TIERNEY’S (D-MA) FINANCES AND MONEY HIS WIFE RECEIVED WHILE WORKING FOR ILLEGAL GAMBLING OPERATION: “Officials with three nonpartisan open-government groups said this week that the House Committee on Ethics should investigate whether US Representative John F. Tierney was ­required to publicly disclose more than $200,000 that his wife received while managing a bank account with money that came from her brother’s ­illegal gambling business.” (Michael Rezendes, “Inquiry Urged into Tierney Disclosures,” Boston Globe, 8/04/2012)

TIERNEY’S BROTHER-IN-LAW SAYS HE “KNEW EVERYTHING” ABOUT AN ILLEGAL GAMBLING OPERATION AND THREW HIS WIFE UNDER THE BUS OUT OF FEAR OF AN ETHICS COMMITTEE INVESTIGATION: “After his sentencing, Daniel Eremian told reporters that John Tierney ‘knew everything’ about the gambling operation, is a ‘liar,’ and forced Patrice Tierney into a plea bargain to spare himself political fallout when he sought reelection a month later, in November 2010 … ‘He threw my sister under the bus for his political career,’ Eremian added. ̀He made her plead guilty because he was afraid of an Ethics Committee investigation, and he knew he couldn’t lie in front of the committee.’” (Glen Johnson, “Tierney Faces Questions About Inlaws’ Gambling Ring,” Boston Globe, 7/13/2012)

REP. LOIS CAPPS (D-CA) FAILED TO DISCLOSE RENTAL INCOME AND REPORT IT TO THE IRS: “In a possible congressional ethics violation, California Democratic Rep. Lois Capps rented a room in her personal home to one of her congressional staffers for years and did not report the income to the IRS — during that time, or for more than a decade — until 2012. Capps also withheld that information from the proper congressional authorities for five years — from 2001 until early 2006.” (Matthew Boyle, “Rep. Capps Rented Room To Staffer For Years, Didn’t Report Income To IRS For Over A Decade,” The Daily Caller, 8/2/2012)

REP. ROB ANDREWS (D-NJ) BEING INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGEDLY USING CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT TO PAY FOR FAMILY VACATIONS, GRADUATION PARTIES AND TRIPS TO HELP HIS DAUGHTER’S CAREER: “The ethics panel said it is reviewing unspecified allegations submitted to them by the Office of Congressional Ethics in April. But the decision comes as Andrews has faced separate complaints filed with the Federal Election Commission over how he spends campaign cash. Those complaints came after news reports last year detailed how Andrews allegedly used his campaign account to pay for a family trip to Scotland, for a birthday party for his daughter, to make donations to a Philadelphia theater that employed his daughter and to take trips to California to help boost his daughter’s fledgling theater career.” (Ed O’Keefe, “Rep. Rob Andrews Faces Ethics Inquiry,” Washington Post, 7/18/2012)

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA) INVESTIGATION EXTENDED; WATERS ACCUSED OF HELPING BANK IN WHICH HER HUSBAND OWNED $350,000 WORTH OF STOCK: “The House Ethics Committee is moving toward extending the contract for Billy Martin, the outside counsel overseeing the case against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), for another six months, according to several sources close to the situation.

“The extension is expected to cost an additional $500,000, although it is not clear if Martin will need the entire six-month period to complete the Waters case. Martin is aiming to finish the probe by the end of this year, sources said. …

“Waters is alleged to have improperly intervened on behalf of a minority-owned bank in which her husband owned $350,000 in stock during the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. Waters has denied the allegations, but the Ethics Committee was prepared to move forward with a ‘trial’ for the California Democrat in Nov. 2010 before the proceedings were postponed. (John Bresnahan, “More Delay Likely In Maxine Waters Ethics Case,” Politico, 8/1/12)

REP. JESSE JACKSON JR. (D-IL) INVESTIGATION EXTENDED; JACKSON ACCUSED OF OFFERING TO EXCHANGE CAMPAIGN CASH FOR SENATE APPOINTMENT FROM FORMER GOV. AND CURRENT FELON ROD BLAGOJEVICH: “The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it will continue its investigation into allegations Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008.

“The committee also released an initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics that said there was "probable cause" to believe that Jackson either directed a third party or had knowledge of a third party's effort to convince the since-convicted Blagojevich to appoint Jackson Jr. in exchange for campaign cash.” (Henry C. Jackson, “Jesse Jackson Jr. Ethics Probe: House Panel Extends Investigation,” Associated Press, 12/2/2011)

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY) UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGEDLY FAILING TO REPORT $40,000 GIFT FROM RICH FRIEND: “The House ethics committee said it will continue to investigate a $40,000 loan to Queens Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, after a review by another ethics office found that the money was likely a gift from a wealthy friend. …The congressman did not report the loan, as required by House ethics rules, until 2010. ‘If Representative Meeks failed to properly disclose the $40,000 as a gift… he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,’ the Office of Congressional Ethics said in a written submission to the House ethics committee.” (Devlin Barrett, “Rep. Meeks Faces Ethics Probe Over ‘Loan,’” The Wall Street Journal, 8/5/2011)

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS UNDER ETHICS REVIEW FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS FROM A FORMER EMPLOYEE: “Reps. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., and Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., the chairman and ranking member of the Ethics Committee, respectively, issued a joint statement today, writing that while they will not impanel an investigative subcommittee, they will continue to review the case and gather additional information necessary to complete the review. The lawmakers have already once extended the committee’s review of the matter.” (John Parkinson, “Rep. Alcee Hastings Ethics Investigation Extended,” ABC’s “The Note” blog, 1/11/2012)

The House Democrats ethics problems are quickly filling up the swamp of corruption that Nancy Pelosi once promised to drain:

NANCY PELOSI PROMISED TO DEMAND “THE HIGHEST ETHICS” FROM LAWMAKERS: “Our goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of government. To do so, we will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics from every public servant, sever unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, and establish clear standards that prevent the trading of official business for gifts.” (Nancy Pelosi's "A New Direction for America," Page 21)

PELOSI PROMISED TO “DRAIN THE SWAP” OF CORRUPTION: “‘Drain the swamp’ means to turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history. That's my pledge — that is what I intend to do,’ Pelosi stated in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams.” (Brian Williams, “Rep. Pelosi Poised To Make History”, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, 11/8/2006)



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