47607827-Under-Investigation-Report

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Under Investigation
CREW has compiled a list of Congress members likely under investigation by the Department of
Justice (DOJ), the House Ethics Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics (Senate
ethics committee) or the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Due to the secrecy surrounding
these investigative bodies, the list is compiled from press reports. On October 30, 2009, The
Washington Post revealed a leaked House ethics committee memo documenting the investigative
activities surrounding House members by the House Ethics Committee and/or the OCE. The
OCE was created in 2008 to review allegations of misconduct against members of the House and
refers matters to the House Ethics Committee for further action. As a result, it is not always clear
which body is investigating the Member.

Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Under Investigation by: The DOJ.1
Under Investigation for: The DOJ is reviewing the land sale between Rep. Calvert, his business
partners and the Jurupa Community Services District.2 In 2006, the Jurupa Community Services
District sold four acres of property in Mira Loma to Stadium properties, in which Rep. Calvert is
a partner.3 The community services district failed to notify the park district and other
governmental agencies that the land was on the market, as required by state law.4 As a result, the
Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District filed a lawsuit against Rep. Calvert’s partnership and
the Jurupa Community Services District for fraud and deceit.5
Status: In October 2009 it was revealed that an FBI official contacted a Jurupa parks official
regarding the lawsuit.6 Rep. Calvert claimed, however, that he had not been contacted by the
FBI. 7

Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
Under Investigation by: The DOJ, the House Ethics Committee, and the OCE.8
Under Investigation for: The OCE referred an investigation into Rep. Jackson to the House
Ethics Committee.9 Rep. Jackson is being scrutinized for his actions surrounding his bid to be
appointed to the Illinois Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.10 Additionally, the
DOJ has interviewed Rep. Jackson in the corruption probe of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL).11

1
  Ben Goad and Sandra Stokely, FBI Poking Around in Jurupa Land Deal, Press-Enterprise, October 16, 2009.
2
  Id.
3
  Id.
4
  Id.
5
  Goad and Stokely, Press-Enterprise, Oct. 16, 2009.
6
  Id.
7
  Id.
8
  Press Release, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 111th Congress, Statement of the Chairwoman
and Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct Regarding Representative
Jesse Jackson, Jr., September 15, 2009.
9
  Id.
10
   Id.
11
   Jeff Coen and John Chase, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.: Feds Step Up Inquiry, Chicago Tribune, April 9, 2009.
Federal authorities have subpoenaed individuals with knowledge of a possible fundraising effort
by Rep. Jackson’s supporters to encourage Gov. Blagojevich to appoint Rep. Jackson to the
Senate.12
Status: The investigation is ongoing. On November 15, 2010, the House Ethics Committee
announced it continues to defer its investigation into Rep. Jackson.13

Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Under Investigation by: The DOJ.14
Under Investigation for: According to news sources, a federal grand jury is investigating
several politicians from Queens, NY including Rep. Meeks.15 The National Legal and Policy
Center claimed Rep. Meeks received a sweetheart deal on a home he built in Queens.16 The
Daily News reported that the grand jury subpoenaed documents related to Rep. Meeks house.17
Status: On April 13, 2010, Rep. Meeks announced on the House floor he has been subpoenaed
by a federal grand jury.18

Representative Gary Miller (R-CA)
Under Investigation by: The DOJ and the House Ethics Committee.19
Under Investigation for: Rep. Miller is under investigation by the DOJ for failing to pay capital
gains taxes after he claimed he was forced to sell his land to two cities under eminent domain,
allegations both cities have denied.20 The House Ethics Committee is reviewing Rep. Miller’s
real estate transactions to determine whether his investments were tied to official acts.21
Status: The status of the investigation is unknown.

Representative Timothy Murphy (R-PA)
Under Investigation by: The DOJ.22
Under Investigation for: Rep. Murphy is under investigation for misusing official resources for




12
   Id.
13
   Press Release, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 111th Congress, Statement of the Chair and
Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct Regarding Representative Jesse
Jackson, Jr., November 15, 2010.
14
   John Bresnahan, Subpoena Issued to Gregory Meeks in Probe, Politico, April 15, 2010.
15
   Id.
16
   Id.
17
   Kenneth Lovett, Barbara Ross and Greg B. Smith, Federal Grand Jury Probes Real Estate and Nonprofit Deals for
Malcolm Smith, Other Queens Pols, New York Daily News, April 2, 2010.
18
   Bresnahan, Politico, Apr. 15, 2010.
19
   William Heisel, FBI Probing Rep. Miller’s Land Sales, Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2007; Perry Bacon Jr. and
Paul Kane, Miller’s Real Estate Profits Reviewed By Committee, Washington Post, October 30, 2009.
20
   Heisel, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 31, 2007.
21
   Bacon Jr. and Kane, Washington Post, Oct. 30, 2009.
22
   Andy Sheehan, FBI Probes Claims Against Congressman Murphy, KDKA Channel 2, December 14, 2006.



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political campaign activity.23
Status: The status of the investigation is unknown.

Representative Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Under Investigation by: The House Ethics Committee.24
Under Investigation for: Rep. Richardson is under investigation by the House Ethics
Committee for allegedly misusing her congressional staff.25 The ethics committee is looking into
whether her staff was forced to volunteer to work on Rep. Richardson’s 2010 re-election
campaign.26 Rep. Richardson acknowledged the House Ethics Committee interviewed her staff,
but denied an investigation was underway.27 Previously, Rep. Richardson was investigated by
the OCE and the House Ethics Committee for allegations she knowingly received preferential
treatment from a bank lender while one of Rep. Richardson’s homes was in foreclosure.28 On
August 6, 2009, the OCE referred the case to the House Ethics Committee recommending further
review into the question of preferential treatment.29 On June 30, 2010, the Ethics Committee
dismissed that investigation.30
Status: The status of the current investigation is unknown.


Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
Under Investigation by: The OCE.31
Under Investigation for: Rep. Schmidt is under investigation for allegedly improperly receiving
free legal services from a Turkish-American interest group, the Turkish Coalition of America,
and its legal defense fund, the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund.32
Status: In February 2011, Rep. Schmidt’s attorney confirmed her office was responding to an
OCE inquiry into the matter.33

Representative Pete Visclosky (D-IN)
Under Investigation by: The DOJ.34
Under Investigation for: Rep. Visclosky is under investigation for his ties to the PMA Group.35

23
   Id.; Shira Toeplitz, Pennsylvania: Murphy Spends $27K On Undisclosed Legal Fees, Roll Call, January 29, 2008.
24
   Paul Singer, Ethics Committee Talked to Rep. Richardson’s Staff, Roll Call, November 12, 2010.
25
   Id.
26
   Id.
27
   Id.
28
   Office of Congressional Ethics, 111th Congress, Report and Findings Related to Rep. Laura Richardson, Review
No. 09-4126, August 6, 2009.
29
   Id.
30
   Press Release, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 111th Congress, Statement of the Chair and
Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct Regarding its Report on the
Matter of Representative Laura Richardson, July 1, 2010.
31
   Jennifer Yachnin, Ethics Board Eyes Schmidt, Roll Call, February 15, 2011.
32
   Id.
33
   Id.
34
   Carol D. Leonnig, 7 On Defense Panel Scrutinized, Washington Post, October 30, 2009; David D. Kirkpatrick and
Charlie Savage, Lawmaker Said to Surface in Lobbying Inquiry, New York Times, April 3, 2009.



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In fall 2008, the FBI raided the lobbying firm the PMA Group for potentially making improper
campaign donations to members of Congress.36 Rep. Visclosky is one of the top three recipients
of donations from the firm and its clients.37 In March 2009, Rep. Visclosky returned over
$18,000 in campaign contributions from the PMA Group’s board of directors and lobbyists.38
Status: On March 21, 2009, Rep. Visclosky’s campaign wrote a letter to the Federal Election
Commission (FEC) seeking permission to use campaign funds for legal expenses that may arise
from the FBI’s investigation into the PMA Group; in August, the FEC approved Rep.
Visclosky’s request.39 On May 29, 2009, it was reported that Rep. Visclosky was subpoenaed by
a federal grand jury in regards to the PMA Group investigation.40 On February 26, 2010, the
House Ethics Committee exonerated Rep. Visclosky.41 Nonetheless, the OCE concluded, “There
is probable cause to believe that Rep. Visclosky solicited or accepted contributions or other items
of value in exchange for or because of an official act.”42 On May 27, 2010, the OCE referred the
investigation to DOJ.43

Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Under Investigation by: The House Ethics Committee and OCE.44
Under Investigation for: Rep. Waters is under investigation for securing meetings between
officials at OneUnited Bank, a bank with which her husband has close financial ties, and officials
at the Treasury Department in regards to obtaining bailout funds.45 Rep. Waters’ husband,
Sidney Williams, was once a member of the bank’s board of directors and his investments in the
bank are worth at least $350,000.46 OneUnited Bank received a $12 million bailout.94
Status: The OCE referred Rep. Waters’ case to the House Ethics Committee.47 On October 29,
2009, the House Ethics Committee established a subcommittee to investigate the



35
   Id.
36
   Susan Schmidt, FBI Raids Defense-Related Lobbying Firm Linked to Murtha, Wall Street Journal, February 11,
2009.
37
   Lindsay Renick Mayer, PMA Group and Clients Paid Out $40 Million to Current Congress, OpenSecrets.org,
March 12, 2009.
38
   Maureen Groppe, Rep. Visclosky Gives Questionable Funds to Treasury, Journal and Courier, April 14, 2009.
39
   Paul Singer, Visclosky Seeks to Use Campaign Funds for Legal Defense, Roll Call, April 20, 2009; Alex Knott,
FEC Approves Money for Visclosky Staffers, Roll Call, August 27, 2009.
40
   John Bresnahan, Visclosky Subpoenaed by Federal Grand Jury, Politico, May 29, 2009.
41
   Press Release, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 111th Congress, Statement of the Chair and
Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct Regarding Its Report In the Matter
of Allegations Relating to the Lobbying Activities of Paul Magliocchetti and Associates Group, Inc. (PMA),
February 26, 2010.
42
   Office of Congressional Ethics, 111th Congress, Report and Findings Related to Rep. Peter Visclosky, Review No.
09-4486, December 2, 2009.
43
   Press Release, Office of Congressional Ethics, 111th Congress, Statement of the Office of Congressional Ethics
Regarding Evidence Collected in OCE’s PMA Investigation, May 27, 2010.
44
   Press Release, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 111th Congress, Statement of the Chair and
Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct Regarding Representative Maxine
Waters, September 15, 2009.
45
   Jake Sherman, House Ethics Panel Probes Rep. Waters, Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2009.
46
   Id.
47
   Press Release, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, September 15, 2009.



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congresswoman.48 An investigatory subcommittee found Rep. Waters had violated three counts
of House rules and federal law and on August 2, 2010 the ethics committee issued a Statement of
Alleged Violations.49 On November 19, 2010, the House Ethics Committee announced it would
delay the trial until the 112th Congress.50

Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
Under Investigation by: The Senate ethics committee.51
Under Investigation for: Sen. Ensign is under investigation by the Senate ethics committee for
actions surrounding his affair with a staffer.52 On June 16, 2009, Sen. Ensign confessed he had
engaged in an affair with Cynthia Hampton, his former campaign and PAC treasurer, who is
married to Doug Hampton, the Senator’s then administrative assistant.53 When Mr. Hampton
resigned from the Senator’s office, Sen. Ensign illegally helped Mr. Hampton violate a one-year
lobbying ban, and then assisted Mr. Hampton’s clients with their legislative agendas.54 Mr.
Hampton claimed Sen. Ensign paid him $25,000 in severance.55 It was later revealed that the
parents of Sen. Ensign made eight gifts of $12,000 to the Hampton family, totaling $96,000;
these payments could either constitute money laundering or a violation of campaign finance laws
since the payments were not reported on his campaign disclosure forms.56
Status: On December 1, 2010, Sen. Ensign said he is no longer under investigation by the
DOJ.57 The Senate ethics committee investigation is ongoing.58 On February 1, 2011, the
committee appointed a special counsel to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the investigation.59

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Under Investigation by: The DOJ.60
Under Investigation for: Sen. Menendez is under investigation by the Newark, NJ U.S.
Attorney’s Office for collecting rent from an anti-poverty group for which he helped win federal
funds, the North Hudson Community Action Corporation.61 The group was run by a donor to
Sen. Menendez’s campaign.62 More recently, in 2007, federal investigators began looking into

48
   Press Release, House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 111th Congress, Statement of the Chair and
Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct Regarding Representative Maxine
Waters, October 29, 2009.
49
   Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, Investigative Subcommittee, 111th Congress, In the Matter of
Representative Maxine Waters, Statement of Alleged Violations, Adopted June 15, 2010.
50
   John Bresnahan and Jonathan Allen, Maxine Waters Ethics Trial Delayed, Politico, November 19, 2010.
51
   John Bresnahan and Manu Raju, John Ensign Will Face Investigation, Politico, January 25, 2010.
52
   Id.
53
   J. Patrick Coolican, Ensign Acknowledges Extramarital Affair, Las Vegas Sun, June 16, 2009.
54
   Eric Lichtblau and Eric Lipton, Senator’s Aid After Affair Raises Flags Over Ethics, New York Times, October 1,
2009.
55
   J. Patrick Coolican, Hampton Speaks Publicly, Says Ensign Paid Severance, Las Vegas Sun, July 8, 2009.
56
   Ensign Paid $96,000 ‘Gift’ to Hamptons, Politico, July 9, 2009.
57
   Ensign No Longer Target of DOJ Probe, Fox5Vegas.com, December 1, 2010.
58
   Id.
59
   John Bresnahan, Ethics Hires Ensign Special Counsel, Politico, Febuary 1, 2011.
60
   David Kocieniewski, Inquiry Focuses on Former Aide to Menendez, New York Times, August 28, 2007.
61
   Id.
62
   Jeff Whelan and Josh Margolin, Feds Probe Menendez Rental Deal, Star-Ledger, September 8, 2006.



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Sen. Menendez’s relationship with his former chief of staff, lobbyist Kay LiCausi, to determine
whether the senator improperly helped her or her clients win contracts and federal funding.63
Status: The status of the investigation is unknown.




63
     Kocieniewski, New York Times, Aug. 28, 2007.



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