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Ethics Investigations for Repubs and Dems

Five current, and one former, house members investigated for use of travel funds.

A number of House lawmakers are facing probes by Congressional investigators regarding travel expenses, the Wall Street Journal reports:

The investigation follows a Wall Street Journal article in March that said lawmakers had used daily cash stipends, meant to cover certain costs of official government travel overseas, to cover expenses that appeared to be unauthorized by House rules.

According to "several lawmakers who have been contacted by ethics investigators," the list includes: Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), as well as Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX). Former Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) was also reportedly contacted by investigators.

Some, such as Rep. Wilson who is accused of using funds to buy marble goblets in Kabul, have defended themselves. Wilson spokeswoman Pepper Pennington says the goblets were less than $2 a piece and were gifts for military members. "Focusing on personal purchases under $2 while over 14 million Americans are out of work does not reflect the priorities of the American people," she told the WSJ.

Wilson is the same Congressman who famously shouted "You lie!" to President Obama during last fall's Congressional health care address.

It could be a while until the public knows the results of the investigation, according to the WSJ: "Investigators won't make the probe public until after the election due to a House rule that bars announcements of ethics investigations in the months before an election."

This summer has been filled with such investigations. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was charged with 13 ethics violations while Rep. Maxine Waters is facing an ethics hearing regarding federal bail out funds given to a bank with ties to her husband.

One last thing…
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