Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ethics Committee to Investigate Whether House Rules Violated

Rep. Doc Hastings (R), House Ethics Committee chairman, said an investigative subcommittee had been established to examine issues related to the Foley scandal and that "four dozen" subpoenas had been authorized for documents and other materials. The Ethics Committee returned to Washington for an emergency session this morning following public furor over the affair.

Because Mark Foley, the Republican representative who resigned from Congress following reports of internet communications with minors, is no longer a member of the House, the subcommittee has no jurisdiction to investigate him, although he could be subpoenaed. The investigation will center on the "subject matter" surrounding the scandal, according to the Committee, specifically as it relates to the House and whether its rules were violated. The committee could also investigate abuse of pages by other congressmen, if other reports surface.

Rep. Howard Berman (D), ranking minority member of the committee, said, "In terms of time frame, we are looking at weeks, not months."

Committee members refused to say whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert would be subpoenaed.

Hastert will be speaking shortly in a separate news conference and is expected to repeat the points of his press release sent out earlier today, promote the new page tip hotline and encourage anyone with knowledge of page abuse to call in.

Major Garrett of Fox News reported earlier that a small circle of influential Republicans has been given poll results showing Republicans could lose up to 50 seats if Hastert does not resign as House Speaker before November.

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