Senate Ethics Committee

20 Stories

73 in Congress Sponsored Bills, Reaped Rewards

Lawmakers sought legislation from which they benefited

(Newser) - From a PBS exec's husband who defended the station's funding to a congressman who sought tax breaks for racehorse owners before buying seven horses: A Washington Post investigation finds 73 members of Congress who have recently sponsored or co-sponsored bills that help industries to which they have personal... More »

Santorum Ethics Questions Resurface

But Iowa near-winner raises $1M overnight

(Newser) - Rick Santorum's rise to the top tier of the GOP race has triggered a search for skeletons in his closet. Ethics questions from Santorum's time as a US senator have resurfaced, including allegations that he received a mortgage at a preferred rate from a bank run by a... More »

John Ensign Hit With Scathing Ethics Report

Senate panel refers case to Justice Department for investigation

(Newser) - Former Sen. John Ensign of Nevada broke federal law, made false statements to the FEC, and obstructed a Senate Ethics Committee's investigation into his conduct, the panel said today in a scathing report that sent the matter to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. The former GOP lawmaker "... More »

John Ensign Gives Farewell Speech—to Empty Room

Senator apologizes to (absent) family and colleagues

(Newser) - John Ensign took the Senate floor one last time yesterday and delivered a contrite farewell speech—to a whole lot of empty chairs. Not one of Ensign's senate colleagues showed up to hear the address; Democrat Chris Coons sat in the presiding officer's chair, but opened a folder... More »

GOP Files Ethics Complaint on McCaskill

They want investigation into use of tax money for flight

(Newser) - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is the target of a GOP-filed ethics complaint over her personal plane, Politico reports. McCaskill has acknowledged that she mistakenly used taxpayer money to cover the cost of one purely political trip last year, and she reimbursed the Treasury Department for it last week. Today, Missouri... More »

Scott Brown Writing Memoir

New senator will write inspirational book with collaborator

(Newser) - Republican golden boy Scott Brown plans to add another job title to his resume: author. The newly minted senator from Massachusetts has a book deal, pending approval by the Senate Ethics Committee. “He will tell his story in a book in hopes of providing insight and encouragement to others,... More »

Ethics Panel Slaps Burris on the Wrist

'Letter of admonition' cites fibs surrounding Blagojevich

(Newser) - The Senate Ethics Committee today issued a “public letter of qualified admonition,” its gentlest censure, to Roland Burris. The Illinois Democrat had been required to come clean about his dealings with then-governor Rod Blagojevich before his appointment to replace Barack Obama, which he did—before amending his testimony.... More »

Dodd, Conrad Cleared But Scolded in Mortgage Probe

(Newser) - Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad have been cleared of wrongdoing in taking preferred loans from Countrywide Financial, the Hill reports. But the Senate ethics panel gave both Democrats slaps on the wrist. No “credible evidence” of ethics violations emerged, the committee said in a statement, but two “should... More »

Dodd, Conrad 'Knew They Scored Mortgage Deals'

(Newser) - Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad were fully aware they were getting sweetened mortgage deals, the Countrywide Financial exec who handled their loans has told congressional investigators. The testimony from the loan officer to the House Oversight and Senate Ethics committees directly contradicts the senators' assertions that they had... More »

Ensign Facing an Ethical Hot Potato, but no Legal Case (Yet)

Ex-lover would have to make accusation

(Newser) - The husband of John Ensign’s ex-mistress has accused the Republican senator of sexual harassment and wrongful termination—but there can be no legal case unless Cindy Hampton herself accuses Ensign of unwanted advances or creating a hostile work environment, experts tell Politico. Thus far, she’s the only one... More »

Feds Grill Burris in Blago Probe

Calls for senator to step down gain strength

(Newser) - Federal authorities interviewed Illinois Sen. Roland Burris yesterday as part of the investigation into whether former Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to sell President Obama's Senate seat, reports the Chicago Tribune. Burris is not a specific target in the Blago case, sources said, but he is being investigated for perjury by... More »

Unless He Resigns, Senate Likely Stuck With Burris

The embattled Senator, though lacking support, pledges to dig in and fight

(Newser) - Whatever problems Roland Burris had being seated in the Senate, they pale in comparison to the problems the Senate will have getting rid of him, the Los Angeles Times reports. Expulsion from the Senate requires a two-thirds vote; the last senators to be formally booted were alleged rebel supporters during... More »

Senate Ethics Panel May Investigate Burris

(Newser) - The Roland Burris mess is not going away. It now looks like the Senate Ethics Committee will open an investigation into whether he lied about his contacts with Rod Blagojevich, Politico reports. Back home in Illinois, meanwhile, Democrats are joining Republican calls for a perjury investigation. Burris, who backtracked yesterday... More »

House Dems Told to Pony Up for Kanye Show

Senate rules OK the freebie; House says it's an ethics violation

(Newser) - Tonight's Kanye West concert at the Democratic Convention is the unlikely source of an ethics quandary, ABC News reports, as Senate Democrats attend for free while the House is making staffers pay up. Under new rules intended to reduce the influence of lobbyists, members of Congress aren't allowed to take... More »

Senator Told It's Unethical to Deliver Babies

Ethics panel sees conflict in Coburn's pro-bono work

(Newser) - Sen.Tom Coburn, an obstetrician by profession, is a stubborn guy. Known around the cloakroom as Dr. No, he isn't about to let anyone tell him to stop delivering babies when he's at home in Oklahoma at recess. The Senate Ethics Committee insists it's a conflict of interest, even though... More »

Obama Got 'Good Deal' on Mortgage

Better-than-average rate on $1.32M loan raises eyebrows; bank says it's not unusual

(Newser) - Barack Obama is taking heat for accepting a better-than-average interest rate that saves him $300 a month on his $1.32 million mortgage, the Washington Post reports. The 30-year, fixed 5.625% rate on the Democrat's Chicago home was under the 6% being offered other buyers in June 2005 by... More »

Senate Scolds Craig Over Bathroom Sting

Ethics panel says he 'discredited' the chamber with scandal

(Newser) - The Senate Ethics Committee had stern words for embattled Idaho Sen. Larry Craig today, issuing a "letter of admonition" that rebukes him for his arrest in a Minneapolis airport sex sting last June. The letter accuses Craig of committing actions that reflected "discreditably on the Senate," CNN... More »

4 Men Detail Encounters With Craig

Mike Jones, who outed Haggard, says Craig also paid him for sex

(Newser) - The man who exposed his sexual relationship with evangelist Ted Haggard is now among four men claiming sexual encounters with Larry Craig, the Idaho Statesman reports. Mike Jones, who published a tell-all of his relationship with Haggard, says Craig paid him $200 for sex, while an IT consultant claims the... More »

Gay Groups Want Craig Probe Halted

Citing Vitter, activists see ‘homophobic’ double standard

(Newser) - Prominent gay rights groups are calling on the Senate Ethics Committee to drop its sexual misconduct probe of Larry Craig, calling the panel’s focus on the senator’s case—combined with the lack of focus on David Vitter’s—“hypocrisy tinged by homophobia.” The two groups say... More »

GOP Lashes Out at Craig Over Decision to Stay

Republican lawmakers consider Idaho senator an embarrassment

(Newser) - The GOP is an uproar after Larry Craig announced yesterday that he will serve out his term, CNN reports. Some are criticizing the Idaho senator's decision because it will be a distraction from more pressing issues; others denounce Craig's behavior outright. "It's embarrassing for the Senate. It's embarrassing for... More »

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