Theodore's World: Pelosi Faces Ethics Probe Over Potential Massa Coverup As House Passes GOP Demand For Investigation

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March 12, 2010

Pelosi Faces Ethics Probe Over Potential Massa Coverup As House Passes GOP Demand For Investigation

Following the passage of an earmark ban by the House Republican Conference, Republican Whip Eric Cantor pointed out that Speaker Nancy Pelosi breaks her pledge to lead the "most ethical Congress in history" every day.

House Republicans are pushing hard for an investigation into Speaker Nancy Pelosi's handling of accusations that ex-Rep. Eric Massa sexually harassed a male staffer, putting Democrats in a politically dangerous position.

The House voted 402-1 to refer to the ethics committee a demand put forward by GOP leaders that the panel ask Democratic leaders about how they responded to sexual harassment allegations against Massa.

The vote does not compel the ethics committee to follow through with the Republican resolution, which would have required the panel to open an official investigation. Instead, it merely directs the panel to consider the resolution.

An investigation could be politically devastating if Pelosi is found to have overlooked warning signs about Massa's behavior. Democratic aides have told reporters that Massa's chief of staff informed the speaker's office in October about concerns that Massa was living with five aides in a group home on Capitol Hill and had gone to dinner alone with a junior aide to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. Pelosi aides were made aware of the groping allegations from Hoyer's office in February. Pelosi, though, told reporters last week she only learned of any accusations against Massa on March 3.

Pelosi's Office Knew of Massa Concerns

FOX news

Aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew of concerns about the behavior of former Rep. Eric Massa months earlier than Pelosi previously acknowledged, a senior Democratic leadership aide said Wednesday.

In October, Massa's chief of staff told Pelosi's office the then-congressman was living in a townhouse with some of his congressional aides and that he had used "strong" language that made them feel uncomfortable, the leadership aide said. The Massa aide, Joe Racalto, also voiced concern "about the way Massa runs the office" and added he had asked the congressman to move out of the townhouse, the aide said.

Last week, Pelosi indicated her staff had learned of concerns about Massa only in February, when more detailed allegations of sexual harassment were brought to the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.).

In what has become an embarrassing distraction for the Democratic majority, Massa resigned from Congress Monday. He initially cited health concerns, before accusing Democratic leaders of pushing him out of Congress for his opposition to the health-care overhaul. He later backed off that assertion. Massa couldn't be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The House ethics committee had been investigating allegations against Massa of sexual harassment, which congressional officials say involved inappropriate touching of more than one male staffer.

The new details about the involvement of Pelosi's office will likely fuel questions about when the House leadership learned of the allegations and whether they could have investigated the matter earlier.

Massa's top aide approached the Speaker's office in October in part because of publicity created by a story in the Evening Tribune, a local New York newspaper, which noted that Massa lived in a Capitol Hill townhouse with five of his staffers.


House Republicans cried foul, with one senior GOP aide saying that the new information about Pelosi’s office “further underscores” the need to find out what actually happened.

Breaking: House passes GOP demand for investigation into Massa, Dem leadership

If Nancy Pelosi hoped to put the debacle of Eric Massa behind her, she failed to do so — mainly because too many Democrats apparently sense something weird at play, too. The House passed a GOP privileged resolution demanding an investigation into the handling of Massa’s behavior and complaints about ethics, which the Washington Post reported today had been known to House leadership for a long time:

The House overwhelmingly backed a privileged resolution offered by GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) that will have the Ethics Committee look into what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and other Democratic leaders and staffers knew about allegations of sexual harassment against Massa, and when they became aware of the situation.
House Republicans today said they are banning all earmarks by their lawmakers for the rest of this year, in an effort to put pressure on Democrats who they say are using “back room deals” to buy votes for President Obama’s health care bill.
“No doubt earmarks are being talked about in a different way by the democratic majority,” said Rep. Mike Pence, the chairman of the Republican Conference, from Indiana.
Pence said Democrats were cutting “backroom deals” to persuade reluctant House Democrats to vote for the president’s proposal, and said “the American people want us to change business as usual.”

Pelosi cannot afford to eschew pork as ObamaCare struggles to survive in her caucus. In that sense, the timing is exquisite. Not only can Republicans use the Cornhusker Kickbacks and Louisiana Purchases against Democrats in the Senate, they’ve pre-emptively made any such deals in the House sidebar bill toxic. Without those deals, Pelosi isn’t likely to find many converts to a deeply unpopular cause.


Wild Thing's comment.......

But....but...but....I thought she was going to have the most ethical Congress in History. LOL I guess to Pelosi it is ethical.

Betcha Barney Frank was the lone vote opposed heh heh

Posted by Wild Thing at March 12, 2010 06:50 AM


Pelosi forgot to look up the meaning of the word "ethics" before she promised the most ethical Congress. Now she may wll become the target of an ethics investigation. I love it.

Posted by: TomR at March 13, 2010 10:39 AM