OCE Reports 23 New Inquiries So Far This Year

Posted April 20, 2010 at 9:43am

The Office of Congressional Ethics reported Tuesday that it has opened 48 inquiries to date in the 111th Congress, meaning the office has reviewed the actions of about 11 percent of the House membership.

In the first months of 2010, the OCE also indicated it had started 23 inquiries, nearly doubling the number of probes that it has opened this cycle, according to the office’s quarterly report. The office, which is tasked with reviewing potential rules violations and recommending investigations to the House ethics committee, opened 25 inquiries in 2009.

But of those new investigations, the OCE reported terminating 18 after the preliminary review stage, meaning the inquiries will not become public.

The OCE’s investigations, conducted in a two-stage process, are released only if the office recommends further investigation to the House ethics panel. If the OCE completes a review but recommends dismissal, the reports are not required to be released.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly known as the ethics panel, reviewed at least 36 lawmakers, or about 8 percent of House membership, in the first half of the 111th Congress, Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said in January.