Scandals, Scandals, Scandals -- Part II: The Investigations

Add new revelations that House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) may be under investigation by the Justice Department to the FBI’s recent raids on Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), and you could be forgiven for not being able to keep track of the many members of Congress under investigation. At Congresspedia, however, we live and breathe this stuff, so we’ve created a handy cheat sheet of all the members under investigation by the congressional ethics committees, law enforcement agencies and grand juries. The full list is below, but for future reference you can just check the “Members of Congress under investigation” link in the “Quick links” section—we'll make sure to keep it updated for you.


Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)
Conrad Burns is under investigation for his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Burns has been alleged to have received campaign contributions from Abramoff in exchange for positive action including helping to secure a $3 million earmark for an Abramoff tribal client and for opposing minimum wage laws and labor regulations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, another Abramoff client. Burns’ campaign committee and his political action committee received $146,590 from Abramoff and his clients.

Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)
Bill Frist is under investigation by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for insider trading. Frist sold his stock in HCA -- the largest private operator of health care facilities which is owned by his family -- from his blind trust two weeks before the company announced that earnings would not meet expectations, which caused a substantial drop in the share price.


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

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)
Tom DeLay was indicted in September 2005 for money laundering and conspiracy. 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.

Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)
Dennis Hastert is alleged to be under investigation for his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Hastert co-signed a letter urging the Interior Department to deny a casino license to an opponent of one of Jack Abramoff's clients. Hastert is also the top recipient of money from Abramoff and his clients. There have been conflicting reports as to whether Hastert is actually under investigation.

Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.)
William Jefferson is currently under investigation for soliciting bribes in an international telecommunications deal and the Justice Department is probing seven other schemes in which he may have received or solicited bribes. Jefferson's house in New Orleans and his congressional office were raided by the FBI. Jefferson was allegedly caught talking about giving and receiving bribes by a wiretap worn by a woman involved in the deal. The FBI affidavit states that Jefferson was also videotaped receiving $100,000 in cash from an undercover FBI agent. Some $90,000 in cash was recovered from the freezer in his New Orleans home.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.)
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 the Lowery represents, which has included the Brent Wilkes owned ADCS.

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.V.)
Alan Mollohan is under investigation for using the “earmarking” process to direct contracts to campaign contributors who work for non-profit organization that he founded. The exponential growth in Mollohan’s wealth is also be studied for possible misstatements in his personal financial disclosure forms and because his business partners have also received earmarks from the congressman.

Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio)
Bob Ney is currently under investigation for his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Ney is alleged to have received gifts, including campaign contributions, in exchange for favorable legislative action. Ney has been named in four separate guilty pleas as “Representative #1”.