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Top Dem on House Ethics Committee Steps Down

Alan Mollohan (D-WV), the top Dem on the House ethics committee, is stepping down amid a financial controversy in which Mollohan is accused of steering millions to non-profit organizations in his district that donated to his campaign.

The top Democrat on the House ethics committee, Alan Mollohan, will leave the panel _ at least temporarily _ while he defends his own financial conduct, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday.


Mollohan's decision comes in an election year when his party is accusing majority Republicans of allowing a "culture of corruption" in Congress.

Mollohan, of West Virginia, will be replaced by Rep. Howard Berman of California, a former ranking Democrat on the panel. Mollohan has denied any wrongdoing.

The only evenly divided panel in the House, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has been divided along partisan lines for the past 16 months and unable to launch any major new investigations. If Mollohan had stayed while under his own ethics cloud, the chances for the stalemate to end would have been almost impossible.

The Wall Street Journal reported two weeks ago that Mollohan steered millions of dollars to nonprofit groups in his district _ with much of the money going to organizations run by people who contribute to the lawmaker's campaigns.

Also, a conservative group filed a complaint with federal prosecutors this year questioning whether Mollohan correctly reported his assets on financial disclosure forms.

While Mollohan's troubles threaten to become a major campaign problem for Democrats, Pelosi, of California, said in a statement that Mollohan decided on his own to step down and that she accepted his decision.

National Legal and Policy Center investigated Mollohan's finances and found the following:

For the period 1996 through 2004, NLPC found that the Financial Disclosure Reports:


• repeatedly failed to disclose real estate assets which public records showed were owned by Mollohan and his wife

• repeatedly failed to disclose financial assets which public records showed were owned by Mollohan and his wife

• repeatedly failed to disclose major loans which were used in the acquisition of financial assets which were not being disclosed

• failed to disclose interests in companies which owned major assets

• grossly undervalued assets, giving purported valuations which were a small fraction of the assets' true value

After Pelosi has spent months on her high horse lecturing the country about the Republicans' so called "culture of corruption," she can't be too pleased that a member of her own party has his own issues with corruption.

Update: A reader reminds us of Rep. Pelosi's issues with corruption just a couple of years ago.

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Feds Investigating Rep. Alan Mollohan's Finances


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Comments (13)

And let's not let anyone fo... (Below threshold)

And let's not let anyone forget Ms. Pelosi's own fundraising scandal not so long ago (a fine was handed down). I love how they keep going to her for comment on stuff like this although she knowingly set up two PACs so she could collect twice the money.

Don't want to draw any equi... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

Don't want to draw any equivalency here between the two parties, but as Pelosi would say, "the culture of corruption," is not an exclusive commodity of only the Rupublicans.
Crooks exist across the broad, no matter which party, and they should be dealt with for violating our trust.
This really stings the dems, their senior person on the ethics committee.

Don't look for too much cov... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Don't look for too much coverage of this in the MSM.

What was that again? cultur... (Below threshold)
virgo:

What was that again? culture of corruption or something was,nt it? hypocrites

at least he stepped down in... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

at least he stepped down instead of have the rules changed to stay, like some repub leaders we know of.

also, the center is the NLPC, the National Legal & Policy Center, and they have not released the report to anyone, Mollohan, his repub opponent, or the press.

http://www.news-register.net/News/articles.asp?articleID=4805

and

http://sundaygazettemail.com/section/News/2006041326?pt=22

It's awfully hard to refute charges against you if you don't know what you're charged with. Until the report is released so its accusations can be addressed, one cannot expect the MSM to cover it that in depth because there's nothing to report other than accusations.

Sean, I've never seen lack ... (Below threshold)

Sean, I've never seen lack of information hinder MSM coverage of issues, any less than our bantering about in blogs.

Corruption has nothing to do with party lines, and only when it is addressed in that non-partisan manner will there be a reduction in its scope.

Who will be the next Calvin Coolidge (post Teapot Dome Scandal) or Teddy Roosevelt (industry controls and conservation, reform of Republican Party)?

i never said corruption was... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

i never said corruption was specific to parties, but in recent repub corruption scandals, evidence has been presented,charges have been filed, and people have been convicted of criminal violations, not just ethics violations.

Raising this story up as the great equalizer, when the accusations have no credibility as of right now, is absurd.

oh, and i have no idea what... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

oh, and i have no idea what your coolidge/roosevelt question is asking.

at least he steppe... (Below threshold)
at least he stepped down instead of have the rules changed to stay, like some repub leaders we know of.

You're talking about DeLay, aren't you? He came out against the rule change, and pressured for it to be rescinded.

But don't let mere facts get in the way of a good partisan snark.

sean nyc-at lea... (Below threshold)
fletch:

sean nyc-

at least he stepped down instead of have the rules changed to stay, like some repub leaders we know of.

Of course, the Democrats do not, and have never had, any rule about things like this(see Rostenkowski, Trafficant, etc.).

It's a good thing he did decide to step down... otherwise nothing would have been done- unless/until he was sent to jail!

Seanyif you have t... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Seany

if you have the majority of votes to change the rules, than it becomes the new rule and there is nothing illegal or unethical about it. sadly claims of unethical conduct simply because you are in the minority avail zero.
Tom Delay has only been convicted by your types in the media wanting it to be true, so dont try to have it both ways when one of yours gets caught.

"Crooks exist across the br... (Below threshold)

"Crooks exist across the broad"

hah

I agree hah... (Below threshold)
virgo:

I agree


hah




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