Brief of the Week November 9, 2009

WHO IN HOUSE BEING INVESTIGATED?: That was the most-asked question on Capitol Hill last week, after a confidential report on the activities of the House Ethics Committee prepared last summer was leaked to the Washington Post (by a low-level committee staffer who was subsequently fired). According to the Post, the 22-page summary of committee work gave an update on 19 lawmakers and a few congressional staffers now under investigation by the panel, and also indicated that the activities of 14 other House members were being reviewed by both the Ethics Committee and the new Office of Congressional Ethics (which initiates probes and makes recommendations to the full committee). Along with reporting on the status of the well-known investigations of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D.-N.Y.) and Rep. Pete Visclosky (D.-Ind.), the document revealed that California Democratic Representatives Maxine Walters and Laura Richardson were both under investigations for their personal finances. The ethics leak came amid revelations that the software company Mobilvox got into the defense contracting business by hiring lobbying firms whose executives included former top aides to Democratic Representatives Jim Moran (Va.) and John Murtha (Pa.) — both members of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Pentagon’s spending — as well as Murtha’s brother. Mobilvox also opened a new office in Murtha’s Southwestern Pennsylvania district.