CMD superman logo.jpg SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy,

depends on donations from people like you!

Click here to make a tax-deductable contribution.

Category:Members of Congress under investigation

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
Editor's note: This article is an index of current and recent members of Congress currently under investigation by the congressional ethics committees, or under investigation, indictment, or conviction by law enforcement authorities, based on credible media reports. In cases where it is contested whether or not the member is being investigated, it is noted in that member's profile. All information here is taken from the members' personal profile pages. If you wish to edit or contribute to this article, please make sure to first add the information to those profiles (with a source).

Senators

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey)

Bobmenendez.jpg

Bob Menendez is under federal investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, N.J. Specifically, investigators are examining whether Menendez had an improper financial relationship with the North Hudson County Action Corp., a non-profit organization in Union City, N.J. Menendez leased a house to the group from 1994-2003. During this period, in which he was a member of the House, Menendez received more than $300,000 from the organization in rent payments. In 1998, Menendez helped the agency win designation as a federally qualified health care center, a title that made it eligible for federal health care grants. In the eight years that followed this designation, the agency collected $9.6 million in federal grants. Menendez has noted that before renting out the house in 1994, he obtained clearance from the House Ethics Committee. He has also stated that there was nothing improper about his actions because he never negotiated directly with agency officials and the organization paid slightly below-market rent for the house. Menendez was elected to his own Senate term in November 2006 when he defeated Republican Tom Kean.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)

Tedstevens.jpg

Ted Stevens was convicted by a federal jury on seven counts of "knowingly and willfully" making false statements on his Senate personal financial disclosure forms. Stevens had been charged with making false statements involving gifts and services he received in connection with VECO Inc., an oil services company in Alaska. Prosecutors said the remodeling of Stevens' home in Girdwood, Alaska -- which involved top VECO executives -- was not disclosed on personal financial disclosure forms, as required by federal law. Former VECO chief executive Bill Allen, awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to bribing Alaska lawmakers, spearheaded the remodeling project by hiring the contractors and directing them to send him the same bills that were being sent to Stevens. Stevens faces five years prison time for each count and will be sentenced on February 25, 2009.

Sen. Roland Burris (D-Illinois)

Rolandburris.jpg

The Senate Ethics Committee has opened a preliminary investigation into Roland Burris' testimony regarding his appointment in December 2008 to the Senate by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Burris has given multiple accounts of his contacts with representatives of the then-Governor, first stating in January 2009 that he had had little contact with anyone close to Blagojevich, but later admitting in February 2009 that he had spoken with the Governor's brother three times in October and November 2008, and that he had even contacted several people about the possibility of holding a fund-raiser for the Governor before abandoning the idea. Illinois State's Attorney John Schmidt is also reviewing Burris' testimony for possible inconsistencies.


Note

*At least one additional member of Congress not mentioned below is closely tied to an ongoing investigation, though not a target himself. A staffer for Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Vicki Siegel Herson, is under FBI investigation for allegedly helping her husband, a lobbyist, secure almost $50 million in Pentagon spending for his clients.

Representatives

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York)

Charlierangel.jpg

On September 24, 2008, the House Ethics Committee launched an official probe to investigate discrepancies in his finances. The investigate subcommittee is looking into the following charges:

  • Using official congressional stationery to solicit contributions for an educational center bearing his name.
  • His living in four rent-stabilized apartments in his Harlem district while claiming his Washington, DC home as his primary residence for tax purposes.
  • Failure to report $75,000 in rental income or pay taxes on a beach property in the Dominican Republic, which included a interest free loan deal.
  • Storing his Mercedes-Benz in the House parking lot, contrary to House rules and tax laws.

It was also reported, that from 2004 to 2007,he funneled almost $80,000 in campaign cash to a company run by his son to build a pair of campaign websites that were riddled with misspellings and so poorly designed, an expert estimated the cost for making and operating the site at $1,000.

Since 1978, Rangel has also failed to report assets 28 times on his financial disclosure forms due to an investigation that revealed sums hundreds of thousands of dollars disappearing and appearing without notice from his disclosures.

Despite Rangel's hope that the investigation would soon clear him, on February 10, 2009, the House Ethics Committee voted to prolong the probe.

Rep. John Doolittle (R-California) - Retiring

Johndoolittle.jpg

John Doolittle is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Unit for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Doolittle, who calls Abramoff a close friend, has accepted large amounts of campaign money from Abramoff (which he refused to return after the lobbyist’s conviction), allegedly helped Abramoff’s tribal clients in dealings with the Interior Department, and also helped him win a contract from the Northern Mariana Islands by endorsing a politician on the island. In addition, Doolittle's wife, Julie, was paid a retainer by Abramoff for event planning work from 2002 to 2004. In 2004, Julie Doolittle was subpoenaed for documents in connection with the probe. While John Doolittle paid a lawyer over $38,000 to speak with the Justice Department during 2006, he has denied any wrongdoing or that he is the target of an investigation. In April 2007, the FBI raided his Northern Virginia home, seizing materials related to Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions Inc. (Julie Doolittle's firm). Rep. Doolittle resigned from the House Appropriations Committee shortly thereafter.


Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Florida)

Tomfeeney.jpg

Tom Feeney has been mentioned multiple times in court documents filed by the Justice Department as "Representative #3" in the criminal investigation of Mark Zachares, a former congressional aide to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and lobbyist who, in April 2007, pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In April 2007, the FBI asked Feeney for information about his dealings with Jack Abramoff as part of its ongoing investigation into the lobbyist convicted of defrauding clients. Feeney is one of three House members who accompanied Abramoff to Scotland on golfing trips (the others being convicted former Rep. Bob Ney and indicted former Rep. Tom DeLay). In January 2007, the House announced that Feeney had violated chamber rules by letting Abramoff pay for the trip. Feeney has stated that he is not a target of a probe and is "pleased to voluntarily cooperate" with the investigation.



Rep. Bob Filner (D-California)

Bobfilner.jpg

Bob Filner was charged with assault and battery on August 19, 2007, following an incident at Dulles airport. Filner allegedly "attempted to enter an area authorized for airline employees only" at a United Airlines baggage claim office, and pushed an airport employee trying to stop him. The airport police were called to the scene, where they interviewed Filner, the employee, and witnesses, prior to letting the Congressman leave. Later that night, the airline employee filed charges with a Loudoun County, Virginia magistrate, who issued a summons to Filner to appear in court on October 2 for a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by an up to $2,500 fine and up to 1 year in prison. Filner denied the charges, issuing a statement saying "that the story that has appeared in the press is factually incorrect-and the charges are ridiculous."



Rep. Jane Harman (D-California)

Janeharman.jpg

Jane Harman is under investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly (with the help of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) enlisting wealthy donors to lobby then-House Minority Leader (and current House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi to retain her position as the head Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. The investigation into the alleged campaign to support Harman for the leadership post began in mid-2006 after media reports said that Pelosi might name Rep. Alcee Hastings to succeed Harman. In addition to investigating alleged calls made at Harman’s behest by wealthy Democratic Party contributors to Pelosi, the probe is also looking into whether, in exchange for help from AIPAC, Harman agreed to try to persuade the Bush Administration to go easy on AIPAC officials involved in a broader investigation. Both Harman and AIPAC have denied the allegations. Harman won reelection in November 2006, but was not chosen by Pelosi to head the Intelligence Committee.


Rep. William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) - Indicted

Williamjefferson.jpg

William Jefferson is currently under federal indictment (as of June 2007) on sixteen criminal counts which include racketeering, soliciting bribes, wire fraud, money-laundering, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The indictment says that Jefferson received more than $500,000 in bribes and sought millions more in separate arrangements in which he used his congressional office to negotiate business deals in Africa. Jefferson had his house in New Orleans and his congressional office raided by the FBI in 2006. He was allegedly caught talking about giving and receiving bribes by a wiretap worn by a woman involved in the deal. According to an FBI affidavit, Jefferson was also videotaped receiving $100,000 in cash from an undercover FBI agent. $90,000 of the cash was recovered from the freezer in his New Orleans home. Jefferson is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. He won reelection in 2006 after a runoff victory against fellow Democrat Karen Carter.


Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-California)

Jerry Lewis sml.jpg

Jerry Lewis is currently under investigation for his use of the “earmarking” process to benefit a lobbyist and friend, Bill Lowery. Of interest to the investigation is the revolving door between Lewis’ office and Lowery’s – two Lewis staffers have gone to work for Lowery as lobbyists, with one of them coming back to Lewis’ office – and Lewis' earmarking of projects for firms that Lowery represents, which has included the Brent Wilkes-owned ADCS. Federal investigators are also looking into a land deal which protected nearly 41 acres in Lewis’ neighborhood from developers. The land was given to the city of Redlands by Jack and Laura Dangermond. The couple, who founded and operate Environmental Systems Research, Inc., have received tens of millions of dollars in government contracts from the House Appropriations Committee that Lewis chaired through the 109th Congress. Protecting the land from development keeps property values high, as it is part of a scenic canyon. Furthermore, the Federal Election Commission is reviewing whether Lewis’s campaign committee violated election laws by failing to disclose contributions within a 48-hour deadline. The FEC sent Lewis’s committee a letter back in January 2007 requesting additional information on items in its post-general filing. Lewis won reelection in November 2006, although he lost his chairmanship as a result of the Democrats winning a majority of seats in the House.

Rep. Gary Miller (R-California)

Garymiller.jpg

Gary Miller is under investigation by the FBI for his real estate transactions. Specifically, in 2000, Miller appeared at a Monrovia City Council meeting to lobby city officials to purchase 165 acres of his in order to convert it into a wilderness preserve. In 2002, Miller sold the 165 acres to the city, earning a profit of over $10 million. The money earned from the land deal was then subject to both federal and state taxes, at a 31% rate. Miller, however, told the Internal Revenue Service and the state of California that Monrovia had forced him to sell the property under the threat of eminent domain. This, in his view, allowed him to shelter the profits from capital gains taxes for more than two years before he had to reinvest the money. Miller had previously claimed the same exemption in two subsequent Fontana property transactions. Monrovia officials, however, say that Miller sold the land willingly and that they did not force him to sell. Tax experts believe that Miller will have a difficult time proving that eminent domain was threatened three times by the same municipality.


Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-West Virginia)

Alanmollohan.jpg

Alan Mollohan is under investigation for using the “earmarking” process to direct contracts to non-profit organizations headed by both campaign contributors and business partners. One report notes that Mollohan aided in giving at least $179 million in U.S. government contracts to twenty-one nonprofit groups and companies that gave $225,427 to the Robert H. Mollohan Family Charitable Foundation, for which Mollohan is secretary. In addition, it is alleged that Mollohan helped direct earmarks to a non-profit group headed by his business partner. During the time these earmarks were delivered, public records indicate that Mollohan's personal wealth grew exponentially. Because Mollohan's personal disclosure statements do not reflect this growth, the Justice Department is investigating "whether they were disclosed properly." Mollohan stepped down from his position on the House Ethics Committee in April 2006. In June, he filed two dozen corrections to his past six annual financial disclosure forms, arguing that his accountant had uncovered several unintentional errors. Mollohan won reelection in November 2006.


Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania)

Timmurphy.jpg

Tim Murphy is under federal investigation for allegedly having legislative staff members perform campaign-related activities in his Pennsylvania district office. The investigation was launched after several employees admitted to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that they had been asked to do campaign-related tasks such as distributing literature and mailing greeting cards to financial donors. Such activities are prohibited by both House ethics rules and federal law. Murphy has denied that he instructed his legislative staff to do campaign work.





Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Arizona) - Indicted and Retiring

Rickrenzi.jpg

Rick Renzi is currently the subject of two Justice Department investigations. First, he is under investigation for his involvement in a federal land swap deal. While officials have not revealed details of the probe, it is widely believed that it surrounds legislation Renzi agreed to introduce in 2005 completing a land swap for a former business partner, James Sandlin. Second, Renzi is being probed for introducing legislation (which became law) exempting the Fort Huachuca Army base in Arizona from maintaining water levels in the nearby San Pedro River. ManTech International, a military contractor who has been one of Renzi’s largest contributors and currently employs his father, has over $450 million in contracts at the base. In April 2007, the FBI raided Renzi's wife's Arizona insurance business, prompting him to step down from the House Intelligence, Resources and Financial Services Committees.



Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

Donyoung.jpg

Don Young, along with Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), is under federal investigation for delivering political favors for a company in Alaska. Specifically, officials are probing whether Young or Stevens accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO Corp., the largest oil-field engineering firm in Alaska. The company has been awarded numerous federal contracts since 2000, including several to provide logistics support for arctic research. Former VECO Chief Executive Bill Allen has held fund-raisers for Young in Anchorage, Alaska, and records show contributions to Young of at least $157,000 from VECO employees and its political-action committee between 1996 and 2006.




Former members of Congress

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colorado)

Bobbeauprez.jpg

Bob Beauprez is currently under investigation by the Justice Department’s Wyoming office. The probe is examining whether Beauprez, a candidate in the 2006 gubernatorial election in Colorado, accessed a restricted federal database for information used in a television ad to attack his Democratic challenger, Bill Ritter. State investigators, who began looking into the matter before the Justice Department, have concluded that the information in the ad came from the National Crime Information Center, a federal database for which only law enforcement officials have access. Using the database for any purpose other than law enforcement is a federal crime which carries a punishment of up to one-year in prison. Beauprez ultimately lost the gubernatorial election to Ritter.




Former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-California) - Convicted

Randycunningham.jpg

Randy “Duke” Cunningham was convicted of accepting $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for securing, through earmarks, defense and intelligence contracts for Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes. He is currently serving a sentence of 8 years and 8 months, the longest sentence ever given to a convicted member of Congress. The Justice Department is still investigating others in connection to Cunningham's misdeeds, including probing the House Appropriations Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.





Former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) - Indicted

Tomdelay.jpg

Tom DeLay was indicted in September 2005 for money laundering and conspiracy in connection with the Texas redistricting scandal. The conspiracy charges were waived, but the former Majority Leader still faces the money laundering charge. DeLay was named as “Representative #2” in the guilty plea of his former chief of staff Tony Rudy, who was convicted in connection to the actions of Jack Abramoff. DeLay’s name has also surfaced in the Brent Wilkes-Duke Cunningham scandal and the Justice Department may be looking at his actions in relation to that case. DeLay resigned from the House in 2006.





Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida)

Markfoley.jpg

In late September 2006, Foley resigned from the House after the public revelation of "over-friendly" emails and sexually suggestive instant message conversations he had with teenage congressional pages. In early October, the FBI announced that it would be investigating his actions. Soon after, the Department of Justice sent a "preservation letter" to the House counsel ordering the House to preserve all documents and other materials possibly related to Foley's electronic correspondence with House pages. FBI agents also began searching the country for other pages that may have had contact with Foley. Officials indicated that the investigation thus far was into whether Foley had violated laws against crossing state lines or using electronic communications to entice a minor into sexual acts.




Former Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada)

Jimgibbons.jpg

Jim Gibbons, who is currently the governor of Nevada, is under investigation by the FBI for allegedly accepting unreported gifts and/or payments from a company, eTreppid Technologies LLC, in exchange for official acts while he served in Congress (1997-2007). The firm reportedly gave Gibbons airline tickets and a Caribbean cruise, and was later awarded secret military contracts while Gibbons served on the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees. In 2006, Gibbons was investigated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for allegedly assaulting a Las Vegas cocktail waitress, Chrissy Mazzeo, in a parking garage outside of a bar. Following the initial accusations, Gibbons and his associates were accused of issuing contradicting statements, intimidating and bribing Mazzeo, and attempting to use their connections to the police department and others to obstruct the investigation. Gibbons was endorsed in his gubernatorial race that fall by the local sheriff in charge of the case, and his top political consultant had financial ties to the company that handled surveillance tapes from the garage where the alleged incident took place. Gibbons won the governorship in the November 2006 elections, and the investigation into his actions was dropped later that month after the Metropolitan Police Department found no evidence to support Mazzeo's accusations.

Former Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Florida)

Katherineharris.jpg

Katherine Harris is under investigation by both the Justice Department and Defense Department for her relationship with Mitchell Wade, the former head of a defense company who pleaded guilty to a series of criminal bribery offenses in February 2006. Wade made $32,000 worth of illegal contributions to Harris' House campaign in 2004. In addition, he paid for at least two dinners with her at a Georgetown restaurant in 2004-2005 that totaled roughly $6,000. Later, Wade requested that Harris help secure $10 million in federal money for a company project of his in Sarasota, Fla. Federal officials have subpoenaed records from Harris' U.S. Senate campaign office and interviewed several of her former staffers. Harris was defeated in her Senate bid by Democrat Bill Nelson in the November 2006 elections. Katherine Harris was also mentioned in the best selling book "The Best Democracy Money can Buy" by Greg Palast. As Florida Secretary of State, Harris oversaw the state's vote count in the controversial 2000 presidential election, which was won by George W. Bush, brother of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.


Former Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois)

Dennishastert.jpg

In May 2006, ABC News cited “high-level official sources” in a report claiming that Hastert was under investigation by the FBI. According to the report, the FBI was looking into a letter Hastert wrote in 2003 urging then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton to block an Indian casino that would have competed with casinos operated by other tribes, which were represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Hastert denied the claim, and others suggested that the government leak of an investigation was retaliatory for Hastert’s public opposition to the FBI raid of Rep. William Jefferson’s congressional office. Days after the report, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty denounced it, stating “With regard to reports suggesting that the Speaker of the House is under investigation or 'in the mix,' as stated by ABC News, I reconfirm, as stated by the Department earlier this evening, that these reports are untrue." ABC News, however, refused to retract its original claim of an ongoing investigation. Hastert's office was also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for its handling of early complaints about inappropriate contacts with House pages by former Rep. Mark Foley. On December 8, 2006, the committee reported that while Hastert had acted negligently, he had not violated any House rules.

Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) - Convicted

Bobney.jpg

In October 2006, Bob Ney pled guilty to taking money, gifts and favors in return for official actions on behalf of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his clients. Ney also confessed to taking thousands of dollars in gambling chips from an international businessman who sought his help with the State Department. Ney was the eighth person convicted in the continuing federal investigation into Abramoff's activities, and the first member of Congress. The government has recommended that Ney be sentenced to twenty-seven months in prison. He resigned from Congress on November 17, 2006. On January 19, 2007, Ney was sentenced to thirty months in federal prison.




Former Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania)

Curtweldon.jpg

Curt Weldon is under investigation by the Justice Department for trading his political influence for lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, Karen Weldon. Specifically, the investigation centers around Weldon's efforts between 2002 and 2004 to aid two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers with ties to Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia. The Russian firms and a Serbian group run by the brothers' family had each hired a lobbying firm co-owned by Karen Weldon for fees totaling nearly $1 million a year. In one instance, Weldon allegedly intervened on the behalf of Itera International Energy Corp, a Russian firm represented by Karen Weldon, when U.S. officials canceled a federal grant to the company. In addition, he allegedly encouraged U.S. firms to do business with Itera at a time when its reputation had been damaged by allegations of corruption. Late in 2006, the FBI formally referred the matter to the department's Public Integrity Section. Weldon was defeated in his 2006 bid for reelection by Democrat Joe Sestak. Following his defeat, the House Ethics Committee released a statement saying that Weldon had failed to repay $23,000 worth of improper travel expenses that he accepted for a trip to Belgrade, Serbia. The committee promised to continue monitoring Weldon's actions with regards to the funds.

Former investigations regarding members of Congress

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) - Retiring

Petedomenici.jpg

Pete Domenici is the subject of a "preliminary inquiry" by the Senate Ethics Committee for his role in the U.S. attorney firings controversy. In March 2007, Domenici admitted to contacting the U.S. attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias, concerning an ongoing investigation into a New Mexico Democrat in late 2006. Iglesias, who was fired weeks later, alleged that Domenici pressured him to accelerate the pace of the probe. Domenici’s actions appeared to violate Senate rules. In a discussion of Senate Rule 43, the Senate Ethics Manual states that “[t]he general advice of the Ethics Committee concerning pending court actions is that Senate offices should refrain from intervening in such legal actions...until the matter has reached a resolution in the courts.” The manual also indicates that senators should not consult with an agency regarding any enforcement or investigative matter.



Past investigations into members of Congress

Main article: Past investigations into members of Congress