Office of Congressional Ethics Shocker

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Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner announced the members for the new Office of Congressional Ethics and one member is a total shocker. That is former congressman and former CIA Director Porter Goss, who was tainted by the Duke Cunningham scandal.

Porter Goss is the former chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence and former CIA Director who resigned amidst questions regarding his promotion of Kyle “Dusty” Foggo. Goss was the Director of the CIA for a little over a year, as he butted heads with the Director of Central Intelligence John Negroponte and was close to goons like Foggo. Upon his appointment as Director, Goss elevated Foggo, against the complaints of senior staff, to the number three position of executive director. In the weeks before Goss announced his resignation, the press and the FBI were zeroing in on Foggo as a chief co-conspirator in the massive Cunningham bribery scandal. Days after Goss’ May 5, 2006 resignation the FBI raided the home and offices of Dusty Foggo. In February of 2007, Foggo was indicted with co-conspirator Brent Wilkes.

Goss’ demise at the CIA has been hotly debated and was, at the time and still, inextricably linked to the indictment of CIA Executive Director Foggo and Foggo’s life-long friend Brent Wilkes. Wilkes was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Foggo is awaiting trial and was indicted on subsequent charges for accepting thousands of dollars in meals, vacations, and “sexual companionship.”

While serving as chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Goss’ staff included one former CIA hand, Brant Bassett. Bassett, known as “Nine Fingers,” regularly attended the private poker and cigar parties that Wilkes through at D.C. hotels. Other attendees included Cunningham and Foggo. Bassett also consulted for Wilkes’ ADCS while working in Congress. When Goss moved from Congress to the CIA, he brought Bassett with him as a consultant.

These kinds of personal and professional connections do not lend themselves to the kind of unbiased judgement needed when serving on a panel such as the Office of Congressional Ethics. I can’t quite wrap my head around this decision from Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Boehner.

Other members of the OCE are:

former Rep. David Skaggs (D-Colo.)

former Rep. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (D-Calif.)

former Rep. Karan English (D-Ariz.)

former House Chief Administrative Officer Jay Eagen

Allison Hayward, the former chief of staff to Bradley Smith, a Republican-appointed former chairman of the Federal Election Commission

Two more former members of Congress will serve as alternates:

former federal judge and ex-Rep. Abner Mikva (D-Ill.)

former Rep. Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.)

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