Diary

House Ethics Office Recommends Investigations of Five Democrats

In the hustle and bustle of Washington, it’s easy to overlook things like this:

The Office of Congressional Ethics reported Monday that it has recommended the House ethics panel open five investigations — which focus on trips to the Caribbean by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, according to the ethics committee.

This marks the first time that the panel has made recommendations since the House voted to establish the quasi-independent ethics watchdog in early 2008.

Although the OCE status report does not detail the recommendations, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct confirmed the proposed investigations concerned five Members who attended privately sponsored trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008…

The ethics panel announced in late June that an investigative subcommittee will evaluate whether the Members who attended the Caribbean trips, sponsored by the New York-based Carib News Foundation, violated House gift rules.

“While the committee was investigating the Carib News matter already, there were OCE referrals related to five Members. Those Members were named in the [June 25] statement,” said Blake Chisam, ethics committee staff director and chief counsel.

That statement listed Democratic Reps. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (Mich.), Bennie Thompson (Miss.) and Donald Payne (N.J.) as well as Del. Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands).

Expect the Ethics Committee either to issue some sort of absolution to the Democrats involved in these trips, or to rope in a few Republicans to make it appear that everyone is equally guilty. That’s how Democrats drain the swamp.