Friday, May 21, 2010

Where did the Visclosky crime probe go?

Sung to the tune of "Where have all the flowers gone?"

Where did the Visclosky crime probe go?
Long time passing.
Where did the Visclosky crime probe go?
Don't hear no more?
How about the funds that were misused
and the public trust abused?
When will we ever learn,
When will we ever learn?

Peter, Paul and Mary are not here to sing it and it appears that the government is not there to do it!

House ethics panel investigating Visclosky
Probe to examine ties with PMA Group

StoryDiscussionBy Christine Kraly -, (219) 662-5335 | Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2010 12:05 am | (27) Comments

The U.S. House ethics committee announced for the first time Friday that it has been probing since early last month whether U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky traded campaign cash for multimillion-dollar federal earmarks.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct confirmed it is extending its review of the Merrillville Democrat, whose ties to a powerful lobbying firm are under federal criminal investigation.

The ethics committee will announce its "course of action" on or before March 2, the panel said.

In a statement Friday, Visclosky said he "intends to cooperate fully and believes the committee will conclude that he engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever."

He said he "looks forward to getting this matter behind him and continuing to work hard to serve all of his constituents in the First Congressional District."

The announcement reveals what some congressional experts say can be a confusing check on some of Washington's balances.

The panel began its look into Visclosky's ties with PMA Group on Dec. 2 based on a recommendation from the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The OCE is a nonpartisan, independent body created in 2008 to review allegations of ethics abuse from the public. Prior to the group, only the House ethics committee could initiate such a probe, said Melanie Sloan, executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

If an allegation makes it to the second stage of the OCE's two-prong investigation, it means there is "probable cause to believe a violation has occurred," according to the OCE.

After the second phase, it must recommend either dismissal of the probe to the ethics committee or an extended review, as it did for Visclosky.

Sloan called the OCE recommendation likely "the least of (Visclosky's) problems."

For nearly a year, the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating Visclosky's ties to PMA, a now-defunct lobbying firm suspected of making "straw" donations to lawmakers, concealing the true source of the money.

PMA had for years been Visclosky's top fundraising source, sending millions to the congressman, who helped award PMA clients with federal earmarks.

Visclosky's congressional office, campaign committees and some employees, including former Chief of Staff Chuck Brimmer, were subpoenaed in May.


So back in January the investigation was supposed to be ongoing but just exactly what have we heard about PMA and the other charges?  Porky Pete has a habit of voting on earmarks, lots of earmarks, most of which do NOT come back to his district.  Yet the people just keep voting for him?  What will it take before his actions are truly and fully investigated?  What will it take to wake up the voters and show them the disastrous results of pulling that "D" lever or pushing the "D" buttton or however your particular voting machine works?  Do you see Gary and East Chicago falling apart?  Do you see the mayor of struggling Hammond becoming a millionaire?  When will we ever learn?

ps- hat tip to baseball crank for comic!

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