Alcee Hastings? Greg Meeks? Right before recesses the House Ethics Committee almost always announces something. One of their pending decisions is that of the case of black Congressman Greg Meeks on New York. Â If Ethics moves on Meeks, four of four ethics investigations will be on black members of Congress.The others Black members being investigated are Reps. Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson.
Over the last two years, the House Ethics Committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics have investigated African American members disproportionately given their numbers in Congress. Â There are currently 44 black members of Congress. Â In 2009 all eight Ethics investigations were on African American members at a time when 42 members of Congress out of 535 were black. Â Of the eight investigations in 2009 all were exonerated except the most powerful one in the group: House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Charlie Rangel. Â Rangel was censured in December 2010.
The case of the most senior black female member of Congress, Rep. Maxine Waters, continues two years later.Â Waters stands to be the ranking member or Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2013. Her case would appear to be never ending.
At the same time, the House Ethics Committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics has taken a pass on investigating several white members of Congress who have made questionable ethical decisions that have been well documented. Â Go read up on Reps. Jean Schmidt, Sam Graves andÂ Jerry Lewis, David Rivera,Â Vern Buchanan, Frank Guinta. Rep. Jerry Lewis remains the biggest mystery. Â Why he was not criminally prosecuted is still a mystery to many in the ethics community. Not yet.
Black members are simply a different story however. Â If you think bringing up the skin color of members of Congress who have been investigated is playing the “race card” consider the numbers. Â Let’s review the last two years and the results of those investigations:
(2009) Rep. Bennie ThompsonÂ (EXONERATED)
(2009)Â Rep. Laura Richardson (investigation 1 – EXONERATED))
(2011)Â Rep. Laura Richardson (investigation 2 – still ongoing)
(2011) Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr Â (still ongoing)
(2009) Rep. Don Payne (EXONERATED)
(2010) Sen Roland Burris (reprimand)
(2010) Rep. Maxine Waters (Still ongoing)
(2010) Rep. Charlie Rangel (censured)
(2011) Rep. Alcee Hastings (still ongoing)
(2009) Rep. Yvette ClarkeÂ (EXONERATED)
(2009) Rep. Donna Christensen(EXONERATED)
(2009) Rep. Carolyn KilpatrickÂ (EXONERATED)