Ethics free zone


Crazy Politico notes the same Washington Post article that shocked me this morning. I think, though, it could have been framed a little better. Here’s how I would have written the lede:

The former ranking minority member of the House Ethics Committee said he saw nothing wrong with using his position on the appropriations committee to secure federal funding for the organizations and companies of friends, former staffers, and his own real estate partner.

Well, glad he cleared that up for us!

More seriously, the story raises additional questions. On financial disclosure forms, members disclose the assets they own, but are not required to list the names or affiliations of their business partners. You can read through Rep. Allan Mollohan’s disclosure forms, and never come across the names of Dale R. McBride, the CEO of FMW Composite Systems, Inc., with whom Mollohan shared a property investment that was “totally to do with friendship,” or the name of Laura Kuhns, the “former congressional aide who, along with her husband, bought $2 million worth of property with Mollohan and his wife,” as the Post puts it.

In the short term, would it be too much to ask that members of Congress not invest with the companies or executives of companies for whom they secure earmarks?