The investigations just keep on coming. Since our last update on members of Congress under investigation, a mere week ago, four new members have been added to Congresspedia’s page of (potential) shame. With these additions, fifteen current and three former members of Congress are currently the subject of a federal, state or local probe (nearly 3% of the Congress)! Each of the newly-added members has a detailed explanation of the allegations against them on their Congresspedia profile page, but here's a quick rundown:
- Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is under investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, N.J. for having an improper financial relationship with the North Hudson County Action Corp., a non-profit organization in Union City, N.J. Menendez leased a house to the group from 1994-2003, collecting over $300,000 in rent. In 1998, he helped the agency win designation as a federally qualified health care center, a label that helped it receive over $9 million in federal health care grants.
- Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colo.) is currently under investigation by the Justice Department’s Wyoming office. The probe is examining whether Beauprez, a candidate in the 2006 gubernatorial election in Colorado, accessed a restricted federal database for information used in a television ad to attack his Democratic challenger, Bill Ritter. Using the database for any purpose other than law enforcement is a federal crime which carries a punishment of up to one-year in prison.
- Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Unit for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Doolittle, who calls Abramoff a close friend, has accepted large amounts of campaign money from Abramoff (which he refused to return after the lobbyist’s conviction), allegedly helped Abramoff’s tribal clients in dealings with the Interior Department, and also helped him win a contract from the Northern Mariana Islands by endorsing a politician on the island.
- Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) is currently under investigation by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for allegedly assaulting a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. Since the initial accusations, Gibbons and his associates have been accused of issuing contradicting statements, intimidating and bribing the accuser, and attempting to use their connections to law enforcement and others to obstruct the investigation.
In addition to the fifteen current members listed on the Members of Congress under investigation page, three additional members — Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) — are each closely tied to ongoing investigations, though apparently not targets themselves. As part of Congresspedia’s policy of closely scrutinizing all facts, we must abstain from including them on the page...for now.