House Ethics committee targeting Finance next?

posted at 2:55 pm on December 3, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The case of the missing e-mail in the Maxine Waters ethics investigation appears to be getting deeper.  Earlier this week, the panel acknowledged that it had suspended two attorneys in the probe, including its lead investigator Cindy Morgan Kim, at the same time it postponed its hearing for Waters as new evidence emerged — specifically e-mail that tended to implicate Waters’ chief of staff and the House Finance Committee, chaired by Barney Frank.   Now the Ethics committee has turned its attention to Finance to find out why the committee withheld the e-mail during the initial investigation, and whether the panel has withheld any more evidence:

House ethics investigators have begun a probe into why the powerful House Financial Services Committee did not fully comply with its promise to turn over all documents pertinent to an investigation of subcommittee chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), according to congressional staff and other sources close to the inquiry.

After wrapping up their ethics investigation of Waters this summer and preparing for trial in October, the investigators learned about an e-mail that they considered important to their examination of Waters’s efforts to help a troubled bank tied to her husband. …

The e-mail surfaced because investigators started interviewing a former Frank aide, John Hughes, in September. They asked him at the time if he had any relevant documents, and he reported that he did not. But then they asked him in October to be a witness at Waters’s trial, and when he checked again for documents, he found the e-mail and turned it over, according to a source close to Hughes.

Barney Frank insists that he has done nothing wrong:

Frank said on Tuesday that the concern about late-arriving documents is news to him.

“When I received the Ethics Committee’s 2009 request, I instructed my staff to turn over every document in personal office and committee files. I have every reason to believe they did that,” Frank said yesterday.

The House ethics committee, called the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. But deputy chief ethics counsel C. Morgan Kim and three colleagues said in a memo to the committee members last month that they believe the e-mail “may have a material impact on the investigative subcommittee’s investigation and the resulting statement of alleged violations.”

That would be the same C. Morgan Kim who has been suspended from her duties.

When the news of the postponement broke during Thanksgiving and the nature of the problem came to light, I warned that this may turn into a huge problem for Democrats, much more so than the Rangel trial:

That opens up questions about the ethics not just of Waters but of those committee members who cooperated with Moore and his pleas for “small bank” assistance. OneUnited ended up with millions in TARP money, and unlike other applicants, got to count that cash among its assets before actually receiving the money.  The preferential treatment the bank received — unique among over 700 applicants for TARP money — seems oddly coincidental to Waters’ status and the newly exposed machinations of Moore on her behalf.

How long will it be before the House takes up this case?  One would presume that the Democrats would want to conclude the ethics trial before the end of the lame-duck session in order to have a majority on the House floor for Waters’ eventual punishment, but the news of the e-mails may have them hoping they can get everyone to forget about it forever.  That’s not likely to happen, but it may be a little more likely that a future Ethics committee may be looking into the actions of other Financial Services Committee members.

Brian Faughnan at Liberty Central notes that this may well push Waters’ trial into next year:

The inquiry over the failure to deliver this E-mail seems likely to extend into next year. Ethics Committee investigators will want a good explanation as to how such a critical piece of information was overlooked for so long.

It may also result in more than one trial next year.  If Finance withheld this and other documentation related to the OneUnited case deliberately, censures may be the least of their worries.


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Comments

Its the cover-up that always trips them up.

portlandon on December 3, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Fill the Jails…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on December 3, 2010 at 3:02 PM

I still have a lot of coconut oil left from election night to make popcorn. Perfect!

Seriously, though, if you have not bought coconut oil to make popcorn yet, do so!

WashJeff on December 3, 2010 at 3:03 PM

The question should be can the democrats kick this can down the road for 2 more years. Congress has never wanted to fully investigate anything another member does. Rangel admitted to tax fraud and they gave him a standing O. The doj should be knocking on his door any minute now.

Kissmygrits on December 3, 2010 at 3:04 PM

How can this be? Who is conducting this investigation?
Do these investigators really take their oaths more seriously than our elected Reps do?

rwenger43 on December 3, 2010 at 3:05 PM

It won’t matter. All the damage has been done. in fact, why don’t we just give waters and frank a big old standing O like wrangle got?

WitchDoctor on December 3, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Yeah. More ‘trials’ for stuff which would get the average Joe twenty years hard labor, ending in wrist slaps and ovations on the floor of the House of Representatives.

catmman on December 3, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Why I am I not surprised that Democrats were covering up for other Democrats!?

Conservative Samizdat on December 3, 2010 at 3:10 PM

The doj should be knocking on his door any minute now.

Kissmygrits on December 3, 2010 at 3:04 PM

“Should be”, but you that won’t happen.

/DEMOCRAT

44Magnum on December 3, 2010 at 3:10 PM

The doj should be knocking on his door any minute now.

Kissmygrits on December 3, 2010 at 3:04 PM

New Black Panthers are guarding that door.

WashJeff on December 3, 2010 at 3:11 PM

And the draining of the swamp goes “glug-glug-glug”!

pilamaye on December 3, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Ummm, who ok’d all this anyway? Franks? He should be investigated too.

tinkerthinker on December 3, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Where is Wikileaks when you need them?

d1carter on December 3, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Justice for Barney Frank

petefrt on December 3, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Hmm. I wonder if it turns out that Frank was involved in suppressing the info? If that had come out before the election, I think he might have lost

ConservativePartyNow on December 3, 2010 at 3:18 PM

No wonder they want the Fairness Doctrine, Net Neutrality, etc.

It used to be way easier to get away with this sort of stuff.

Lily on December 3, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Can they hurry up and investigate and slap Franks’ wrist before the evil Republicans take over and railroad his ass?

dhunter on December 3, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Wouldn’t he look sweet in prison stripes? He’d have the time of his life with his new BFF.

MJZZZ on December 3, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

cirrus on December 3, 2010 at 3:21 PM

I hope the Rs really stay busy with their Ethics investigation.

Barney Franks was a kingpin in the financial meltdown. He ought to be investigated and run out of D.C.

INC on December 3, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Jail the dirty basterds…

OmahaConservative on December 3, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Sgt Schultz/Bart Simpson defense : Staff took care of that. If there is a question, take it up with staff. I didn’t do it, nobody saw me, you can’t prove anything.

Skandia Recluse on December 3, 2010 at 3:26 PM

OneUnited ended up with millions in TARP money, and unlike other applicants, got to count that cash among its assets before actually receiving the money.

No words!

fourdeucer on December 3, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Is he going to pull the DADT defense? After all isn’t he a protected minority and doesn’t this investigation smell of blatant homophobia? The investigators should be held accountable for what is obviously a hate crime.

Tommy_G on December 3, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Let them hold it over. It sure as hell won’t ‘blow over’. I imagine Darryl Issa is going to have a field day with this.

GarandFan on December 3, 2010 at 3:42 PM

No wonder they want the Fairness Doctrine, Net Neutrality, etc.

It used to be way easier to get away with this sort of stuff.

Lily on December 3, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Exactly, would we know anything if we depended on newspapers? No.

I am sick thinking of them censoring the internet from here on out.

Any dumb rumours that are spread on the internet can be disproved on the internet as well.

Attack speech with speech not censorship! That is the principle.

petunia on December 3, 2010 at 3:46 PM

OneUnited ended up with millions in TARP money, and unlike other applicants, got to count that cash among its assets before actually receiving the money.

My money and yours, directly paying the salaries, and vacations of the bankers, now there’s a way to run a bank. I wonder if they made actual loans… I don’t see any evidence that loans were made… and if they did they were sold very quickly.

petunia on December 3, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Chasing Barney will be like catching a greased pig.
The next 2 years of gridlock will offer a few smelly investigations.

seven on December 3, 2010 at 3:56 PM

This just keeps on getting better and better… Maybe she’ll call Charlie Rangel as a character witness!! He’s quite a character!!

Khun Joe on December 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM

All Bush’s Fault!

Del Dolemonte on December 3, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Good thing Crazy Nan “drained the swamp” before America kicked her downstairs!

Tim_CA on December 3, 2010 at 4:13 PM

I instructed my staff to turn over every document in personal office and committee files.

It’s always the fault of some lowly staff member.

Keyser-Soze on December 3, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Fill the Jails…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on December 3, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Hells to the yes.

Inanemergencydial on December 3, 2010 at 4:27 PM

I wonder what email gaps will be discovered.

Carl on December 3, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Waters to ask for deal in 5….4…..3….

cmsinaz on December 3, 2010 at 4:34 PM

If the trial gets suspended for three more weeks, Waters and Franks could be looking at expulsion, rather than censure.

Vashta.Nerada on December 3, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Frank belongs in prison for the rest of his life. He has done more to damage the economy of this nation than anyone else in history.

Hening on December 3, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Aww man, the culture of corruption was over looked.

tarpon on December 3, 2010 at 4:41 PM

You know, the more I see of Barney Frank, the more he looks like Al Franken. Can somebody run the two faces through a morphing program and come out in the middle?

njcommuter on December 3, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Low Hanging Fruit,

if you get my drift.

franksalterego on December 3, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Wish the House Republicans hadn’t waited until the last week of October to demand the Ethics trial (at that point unscheduled) be scheduled for before the elections. If the GOP had pushed early on for the chairwoman of the Ethics Committee, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), to hold at least the Rangel trial pre-election, public pressure would have forced the Dems to do so. The Rangel trial would have done to the Dems what the Foley trial in ’06 did the Republicans, provided a constant negative narrative going into the elections, drowned out the Dems message and GOTV efforts, and boosted GOP gains even further

Raisedbywolves on December 3, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Yeah. More ‘trials’ for stuff which would get the average Joe twenty years hard labor, ending in wrist slaps and ovations on the floor of the House of Representatives.

catmman on December 3, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Unfortunately, I think you’re right. What disgusting people they are.

capejasmine on December 3, 2010 at 9:34 PM

They’ll never do time. Another slap on the wrist.

CynicalOptimist on December 3, 2010 at 10:13 PM

Who said God doesn’t hear our prayers?

OkieDoc on December 3, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Rangle how many think Frank should be next.

MSGTAS on December 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM