March 10, 2010

That famous D.C. stench

Great editorial today in Roll Call on the recently concluded ethics investigation into improper ties between the lobbying firm PMA Group and seven House members who were cleared of any wrongdoing.

In clearing all seven, the committee asserted it had reviewed nearly 250,000 pages of documents and conducted interviews with "numerous witnesses." But Roll Call contacted numerous firms and Member offices that would have been logical sources of information for the committee — and found that not a single one had been contacted or asked for documents.

This is like writing a book report without reading the book or voting on legislation without having read it. No one can do a good job in those circumstances.

The House should examine what actions — if any — the ethics committee took in preparing the report that cleared the seven House lawmakers. If it issued this report without interviewing the key parties, the public must call its ability to police the House of Representatives into question.