Ethics Committee GOP Members Allege Stalling on Rangel, Waters Trials

BY Linda J. Scott  September 28, 2010 at 6:01 PM EST

Republican members say the House Ethics Committee must “stop stalling the resolution of the Rangel and Waters matters” and complete the Democrats’ public trials prior to the November election.

In a written statement issued Tuesday afternoon, GOP members accused House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of inaccurately stating that the scheduling of the trials is “up to Jo Bonner, the Republican, and Zoe Lofgren, the Democrat.” Lofgren is the chairman and Bonner is the ranking Republican on the committee.

Republicans say that the majority leader attributed the unwillingness of the committee to set trial dates — Reps. Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters have been investigated and charged separately for violation of House rules — prior to the election to “their own scheduling problems,” something Republicans say is just not true.

Republican members also state in the letter that they are “willing to move forward with the trials, will make themselves available to return to Washington during October and that Reps. Rangel and Waters have publicly demanded a swift and fair resolution to their matters.”

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the DCCC, the fundraising arm for House Democrats, says the party is not slow-walking the scheduling of the ethics process to avoid a pre-election trial.

“I don’t believe any thing of that sort is true. Scheduling the trials is a question under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Committee and it’s their decision on a bipartisan basis on how they’ll proceed,” he said.

But Bonner says that the committee has not worked together in a bipartisan manner to date.

It is unclear how a public airing of the Rangel/Waters matters would affect either party in the upcoming midterm elections. Though Rangel and Waters are Democrats, public opinion for all members of Congress is at an all-time low.