The Office of Congressional Ethics revised its third-quarter report today to reflect amended case statistics for matters currently under its review.
During July, August and September, the office voted to terminate three matters after a preliminary review, not two as previously reported. Three cases entered a second stage of review, not four as previously stated. And four, not five, matters in the second review stage entered a 14-day extension period.
The OCE conducts its investigations in two stages: a 30-day preliminary review, followed by a 45-day second-phase review that may be extended by 14 days. Once a matter reaches a second-phase review, the office must send the case to the House Ethics Committee with a recommendation for further review or dismissal.
A representative of the independent ethics office said that the discrepancy in the initial Monday report was the result of a typographical error that counted a terminated matter as one still under review.
Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, the office has started a preliminary review of 18 matters. Four were terminated, nine entered a second phase of review and four matters in the second-review phase were extended for 14 days. Of the five matters the OCE referred to the Ethics Committee, one was transmitted with a recommendation for dismissal and four with a recommendation for further review. At least two additional pending matters have been referred to the committee since the end of the third quarter and will be reflected in the next status report.
The OCE is a fact-finding body that the House established in 2008 to review allegations of misconduct and refer matters to the Ethics Committee, which can determine appropriate sanctions. The office publishes a statistical summary of its work on a quarterly basis.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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