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Archive of posts filed under the Ethics category.

Virginia’s John Wilkes Wannabe

For any middle-aged legislator thinking about going all flagrante delicto with an underage intern, be warned that potential consequences include not only pregnancy, but thorny constitutional issues. Tweet

Senator Ervin on Congressional Discipline and Speech or Debate

I have previously explained that the Speech or Debate Clause does not protect members from discipline by their legislative body, up to and including expulsion. Since the subject arose again in the last couple of days (in the course of a Glenn Greenwald initiated thread on Twitter), it may be worth adverting to Senator Ervin’s [...]

Judge Bates Dismisses Rangel’s Lawsuit

Last week, as expected, Judge Bates dismissed Representative Rangel’s lawsuit against the Speaker, the Clerk and various former members and staff of the Ethics Committee. As the court notes in conclusion, “everything on Rangel’s wish list implicates insurmountable separation-of-powers barriers to the Court’s exercise of authority,” with the “most problematic [being] Rangel’s unprecedented view that [...]

How the House Deals with Cocaine Possession

As reported by Roll Call and various other outlets, Representative Trey Radel is to appear in D.C. Superior Court tomorrow to face charges of misdemeanor possession of cocaine. No one seems very clear on how this matter will be treated in the House so I think it is worth pointing out that House rules require [...]

Congressional Release of Classified Information and the Disciplinary Power

In reference to my last post, it has been suggested by one of the more faithful commenters at Balkinization, Shag from Brookline, that the Speech or Debate Clause might bar a house of Congress from taking disciplinary action against a member who unilaterally releases classified information without authorization. Shag asks: “Can action by Congress trump the [...]

An Unwarranted Attack on the House and the Ethics Committee

In an oddly speaking complaint, Representative Charlie Rangel, represented by New York attorney Jay Goldberg, has filed suit in federal court against the Speaker, the Clerk and several former members and staff of the House Ethics Committee, including Zoe Lofgren, the former Democratic chair, and Jo Bonner, the former Republican ranking member. Cutting through the [...]

Recusal Confusion- A Final Post on the Waters Case

Now I will turn to the other major issue in the Waters case, which relates to Outside Counsel findings that (1) Representative Waters properly recused herself and her office from the OneUnited matter following the September 9, 2008 meeting, and (2) Mikael Moore, her chief of staff (and grandson), violated her instructions and improperly remained [...]

The Waters Outside Counsel and the September 9, 2008 Treasury Meeting (Part 2)

Now let us turn to one of the two key issues in the Waters ethics case: whether Representative Waters violated any ethics rules when she called Treasury Secretary Paulson to arrange the September 9 meeting. Outside Counsel’s ability to analyze this question is compromised by its unwillingness to confront the reality of what happened at [...]

The Waters Outside Counsel and the September 9, 2008 Treasury Meeting

To begin unpacking the report of Outside Counsel Billy Martin on the matter of Representative Maxine Waters, I will start with the meeting that took place on September 9, 2008 at the Treasury Department. This meeting is key to understanding the events that took place, and the evidence is very clear as to what transpired. [...]

The Notebook- House Ethics Committee Edition

Fans of the Maxine Waters ethics case (you know who you are) may recall that one of the controversies between Blake Chisam, the former Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the Ethics Committee, and the two senior counsel leading the Waters investigation (Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign), involved the binders that were handed out to [...]