Rep. Norm Dicks' ethics investigation closed
A government office tasked with vetting ethics allegations against members of Congress, including Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, has closed its investigation into the ties between three members of a powerful House subcommittee and a lobbying firm founded by a former Capitol Hill aide.
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — A government office tasked with vetting ethics allegations against members of Congress, including Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, has closed its investigation into the ties between three members of a powerful House subcommittee and a lobbying firm founded by a former Capitol Hill aide.
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has told Dicks, John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee and James Moran Jr., D-Va., that it is no longer scrutinizing their relationships with the now-defunct PMA Group, and that it had recommended to the House ethics committee that no further action be taken in the panel's separate probe.
The OCE is a quasi-independent body established by Congress to vet allegations against lawmakers and to recommend to the ethics committee whether it should take action. The committee has 90 days to consider the recommendation but is under no obligation to follow the OCE's advice; the two bodies have clashed repeatedly in recent months over investigative procedure.
The ethics committee publicly confirmed in June that it also was doing a PMA investigation, and the Justice Department has conducted raids and issued subpoenas in its own probe of the lobbying firm. The Washington Post reported in October that the two congressional ethics bodies were investigating the seven subcommittee members for their ties to PMA.
The seven lawmakers steered more than $200 million worth of earmarks to clients of PMA, and received campaign contributions from the political-action committees of PMA and its clients, as well as donations from its employees. The dismissal of Dicks' case was confirmed by his chief of staff to Roll Call, which first reported OCE's actions Friday. It is not known whether OCE has recommended further investigation in the case of other lawmakers named in the ethics report.
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