This was Rangel’s excuse, wasn’t it? Sure, his staff might have known that those trips to the Caribbean were being paid for congressional lobbyists — but no one ever told him. And the moronic House ethics committee pretty much bought it. Didn’t save him from the wrath of House Democrats, though.

Think it’ll save Madam Speaker?

But a Pelosi aide told POLITICO on Wednesday evening that Massa’s chief of staff, Joe Racalto, informed a member of Pelosi’s “member services” operation in October that Massa was living with several aides, had hired too many staff members and used foul language around his staff.

Racalto also raised concerns about “the way Massa ran his office” and informed Pelosi’s member-services staffer that he had asked Massa to move out of the group house on Capitol Hill, the Pelosi aide said…

Hoyer’s aides say he was informed of sexual-harassment allegations against Massa by Ron Hikel, another Massa aide, Feb. 8 and gave the New York Democrat’s office an ultimatum: Take the charges to the ethics committee within 48 hours, or Hoyer would.

Pelosi’s aide said that Hoyer’s office shared those allegations with a senior Pelosi staffer in February and that “the staff concurred that an ethics investigation was the proper course of action and were assured one would be initiated.”…

Pelosi was furious with her top aides when she found out that they had been aware of the February round of Massa allegations but had failed to inform her, according to several sources familiar with her reaction.

She’s been so honest and forthright up to now, I guess we have no choice but to believe that her staff simply forgot to tell her that a formal ethics inquiry featuring explosively sordid charges was being launched against a member of the caucus. Why would she need to know something like that with the midterms eight months away, while she was lobbying this guy to try to flip his vote to yes on ObamaCare?

Here’s what she said last week:

The speaker told reporters that she did not learn about the Massa allegations until Wednesday.

“I asked my staff; I said, ‘Have there been any rumors about any of this before?’” Pelosi said. “There had been a rumor, but just that, no formal notification to our office that anything — a one-, two-, three-person-removed rumor that had been reported to Mr. Hoyer’s office that had been reported to my staff, which they didn’t report to me, because, you know what? This is rumor city. Every single day, there are rumors. I have a job to do and not to be the receiver of rumors.”

Maybe I don’t understand what she means by “formal notification,” but having the majority leader inform her office that he was reporting a member to the ethics committee seems formal-ish, at least.

A senior GOP aide is quoted thusly by Politico: “If it’s true that Democratic members of the House ethics committee are blocking an investigation of what their own leaders knew about Massa, it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Speaker Pelosi has no intention of keeping her promise to lead the most open, honest and ethical Congress in history. What are Democrats on the ethics committee afraid of? What is the Democratic leadership hiding?” Maybe nothing, but it’s time to re-open that ethics investigation and find out. May a thousand attack ads bloom!