The Ethics of the Ethics Committee

The Post discusses the ethical considerations of House Ethics investigations.

Members of the House ethics committee, who are investigating a pattern of lawmakers steering federal funds to generous defense contractors, have just had their own pet military projects approved by the same committee whose activities they are probing.

. . .

Jan Baran, a lawyer at Wiley Rein, said members rarely, if ever, volunteer for the ethics committee, and the conflicting goals are one reason. First, he said, lawmakers do not relish investigating their colleagues, and, second, they are in the business of building coalitions with colleagues to accomplish their agenda for their district and constituents.

“It’s a little difficult to garner the support of a colleague if you are investigating him,” Baran said. “These earmarks highlight the awkwardness that is inherent for a member who is serving on the ethics committee.”

. . .

“You’ve got the FBI looking and grand juries apparently empaneled here,” Baran said. “If there is something really wrong, it will come out in the form of an indictment.”

Comments are closed.