A leaked memo from the House ethics committee reveals that committee staff members have interviewed House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., his top aide, and his son. According to the Washington Post, he spoke with them about his attendance of a conference in St. Martin underwritten by Citigroup, Pfizer, and AT&T, despite congressional rules prohibiting private companies from paying for congressional travel. Those rules were written at a time when Democrats were criticizing Republicans for a “culture of corruption.”
This is an unwelcome, and unexpected, hit for Rangel. The ethics committee is secretive so as to avoid disclosure of preliminary findings. And two weeks ago, the New York Times reported that Rangel's fundraising has dropped by nearly half this year from the previous election cycle. The fact that the chairman is having so much trouble might affect Speaker Pelosi's decision to keep him at the helm of the committee, typically a fundraising powerhouse.
The leaked memo also revealed authorization of a subpoena against Jane Harman, D-Calif., who was heard on FBI-intercepted communications using her influence to help an Israeli operative in exchange for assistance in becoming chairman of the intelligence committee.
According to the Post, the memo was found on a file-sharing network and given to the paper by someone unconnected to the committee.