SEPTEMBER 21, 2007
Appearing reluctant to investigate a California Democrat charged with assault and battery, the House Ethics Committee pushed its own deadline to comply with a rule that calls for a mandatory investigation of any member accused of a crime.
Under stricter House rules adopted earlier this year to supposedly eliminate a culture of corruption, the House Ethics Committee requires a panel to investigate any lawmaker charged with a crime within 30 days.
In the case of Representative Rob Filner, charged with assault and battery last month for an airport shoving incident, the newly revived ethics committee waited until the last day to launch its investigation of the lawmaker. It finally announced this week that a bipartisan four-member panel will â??look into the incident,â? although any possible action will be deferred until the resolution of the criminal case.
According to the sworn complaint of the airline baggage claim employee, the eight-term congressman got violent at Dulles International Airport because there was a delay with his bag. Filner became irate, shoved the baggage worker and other passengers, screamed and refused to exit a restricted area.
Filner is due in a Loudoun County Virginia General District Court on Oct. 2 for a hearing about the incident. The veteran lawmaker says the criminal charges are â??ridiculous.â?
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