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House Ethics Panel Votes to Launch Jefferson Investigation

The House ethics committee voted Thursday to launch a second investigative subcommittee into embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), according to a joint statement released by Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) and ranking member Doc Hastings (R-Wash.).

Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) will serve as chairman with Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) as ranking member. Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Tom Latham (R-Iowa) will also serve on the panel. Latham was tapped in May 2006 to serve on the first inquiry that was not renewed in the 110th Congress. Ellison voted against a privileged resolution offered Tuesday by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) that referred the matter to the ethics committee for an investigation.

The committee also voted to expand the scope of the investigation to “include any or all matters for which Representative Jefferson was indicted by a grand jury” on June 4. Jefferson was indicted on 16 criminal counts for his alleged illegal schemes involving African businesses, including racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Jones and Hastings, who had engaged in a public feud Tuesday after Jones announced the committee would investigate without Hastings’ expressed consent and before a full committee meeting had occurred, said that they were “committed to ensuring the proceedings involving Representative Jefferson are conducted in a fair manner and in accordance with the processes established by the Committee’s standing rules and established precedent.”

— Susan Davis

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