When it comes to ethics investigations, Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal has found an unlikely ally: U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. – the most powerful African-American in Congress.
In an interview with Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News, Clyburn said the Office of Congressional Ethics – a relatively new entity that acts as a kind of grand jury, making preliminary inquiries — has an “accusatory mentality about every allegation.”
The OCE has initiated investigations of several African-American members of Congress, including U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters of California and Charlie Rangel of New York.
Clyburn made his remarks at a gathering of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. From the SMN:
Clyburn, the House majority whip, said he has no opinion about the validity of the case against Deal.
But he said the ethics office investigatory process “is being used by … people who want to make mischief.”
Clyburn said the office lets inquiries be initiated “from a newspaper story or headline … implying things that may or may not have any factual basis.”
He said such stories or headlines form the basis of complaints to the office by “third-party groups.”
Among such groups, he said, is Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The organization filed a complaint against Deal after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article was published.
“People get a wild hair,” Clyburn said concerning members of such groups, “and they just say things.”
The congressman also said he is concerned that a “CIA guy” plays an important role in the office. Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Porter Goss is the vice chairman.