Pelosi Fills Out Ethics Panel

Posted January 22, 2009 at 2:04pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has tapped four Democrats to serve on the House ethics committee.

Pelosi, who earlier this week selected Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to chair the panel, on Thursday named Democratic Reps. Ben Chandler (Ky.), G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), Kathy Castor (Fla.) and Peter Welch (Vt.).

“Each of these Members appointed to serve on the Ethics Committee has shown strong commitment to the integrity of the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said in a statement. “I am confident they will continue their dedication by holding House Members to the highest ethical standards.”

Three of the five Democratic lawmakers who served on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in the 110th Congress were term-limited out of their posts, while Reps. Bobby Scott (Va.) and Bill Delahunt (Mass.) opted not to return to the committee in the 111th Congress.

Republicans earlier named Rep. Jo Bonner (Ala.) to be their ranking member, along with Reps. Gresham Barrett (S.C.), John Kline (Minn.), Mike Conaway (Texas) and Charlie Dent (Pa.).

In the new Congress, the panel is expected to renew its investigation of Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). That inquiry expired at the end of the last Congress.

The committee had been examining Rangel’s fundraising efforts on behalf of a City College of New York center named in his honor, including an alleged quid pro quo of legislation in exchange for donations to the college.

The probe also included Rangel’s ownership of a villa in the Dominican Republic and his failure to report rental income on that property, which led to unpaid taxes; his use of House parking facilities for long-term vehicle storage; and use of three rent-controlled apartments as his primary residence.

Rangel has denied any wrongdoing related to his fundraising efforts, but he has acknowledged the unpaid taxes.