All three network morning shows on Friday skipped a Washington Post report revealing that powerful congressional Democrats such as John Murtha, James Moran and others on a defense panel are the subject of an ethics investigation for a relationship with a lobbying firm. The Democrats, and some Republicans are under intense scrutiny for steering over $200 million in earmarks to clients of a company called PMA.
However, ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today show and CBS’s Early Show somehow managed to ignore this potentially damaging problem for the Democratic majority. Instead, NBC’s hosts found time to dress up as Star Wars characters. (Ann Curry appeared as Darth Vader. See video and blog here.) Early Show host Harry Smith went drag and impersonated Julia Child for a cooking segment. Even though it’s October, GMA promoted a new version of A Christmas Carol.
A badly-secured file from the House Ethics Committee shows dozens of lawmakers under scrutiny for potential corruption charges — and one in particular who may face a less-friendly inquiry from the Justice Department. Federal investigators asked the committee to suspend a years-long probe into the activities of Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), indicating that criminal charges may result. The Washington Post reports the memo in two stories today:
House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.
The report appears to have been inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network, and it was provided to The Washington Post by a source not connected to the congressional investigations. The committee said Thursday night that the document was released by a low-level staffer.
The ethics committee is one of the most secretive panels in Congress, and its members and staff members sign oaths not to disclose any activities related to its past or present investigations. Watchdog groups have accused the committee of not actively pursuing inquiries; the newly disclosed document indicates the panel is conducting far more investigations than it had revealed.