The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Naomi Seligman 202.408.5565

CREW Addresses Rep. Hastings' Dismay Over Delay in Rangel Investigation


Washington DC - Today, Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), addressed the statement by House Ethics Committee ranking member Doc Hastings on the "delay" of an Ethics Committee investigation into Rep. Rangel's activities:

The outrage expressed by Rep. Hastings (R-WA) on the delay of the investigation into Rep. Charlie Rangel's activities is all but laughable from a member whose own unethical dealings, and those of a number of his colleagues, have never been probed.

If Rep. Hastings wants action, there is a long list congressmen whose activities certainly deserve scrutiny by the House Ethics Committee. For starters, there are 11 members currently under state and federal investigation: Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA), John Doolittle (R-CA), Tom Feeney (R-FL), Vito Fossella (R-NY), William Jefferson (D-LA), Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Gary Miller (R-CA), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Rick Renzi (R-AZ), and Don Young (R-AK).

Meanwhile, neither Rep. Hastings nor Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) have been investigated for their roles in the U.S. attorneys firing scandal. The conflict-of-interest issue created by Rep. Hastings' position on the committee that should have been charged with investigating his activities was completely ignored as well.

Still, more questions remain: Why would Rep. Hastings call for an outside special counsel on this particular case, while he has declined to investigate other, far more egregious cases? What then, is the actual purpose of the newly created Office of Congressional Ethics? Why has this new independent ethics office done the sum total of nothing since it opened for business in July? Why did the House even bother creating it?

On the bright side, our hope is now that Rep. Hastings has decided to articulate his indignation on the inaction of his committee, he will get to work addressing all of his colleagues' ethics violations, who thus far have evaded his strong commitment to accountability of House ethics standards.

Rep. Hastings was featured in CREW's 2007 Beyond DeLay: Most Corrupt Members of Congress report.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.