Ethics Subcommittee Probes Filner Incident

Posted September 19, 2007 at 6:54pm

The House ethics committee announced Wednesday that it has voted to empanel an investigative subcommittee to conduct an inquiry into Rep. Bob Filner’s (D-Calif.) August altercation with a Dulles International Airport employee that resulted in a misdemeanor assault charge.

According to a statement on the panel’s Web site, the subcommittee will delay any further action in its investigation until after Filner appears in Loudoun General District Court on Oct. 2.

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) will serve as chairman of the investigative subcommittee and Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.) will be the ranking member. Reps. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) also will serve on the subcommittee.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct had until the end of Wednesday to act on the Filner matter. Under a House resolution sponsored by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) agreed to in June, if a Member is indicted or otherwise “formally charged with criminal conduct in a court,” then the panel has 30 days to either empanel an investigative subcommittee to review the allegation or submit a report to the House describing the reason for not undertaking an investigation. If the panel chooses not to investigate, its report to the House also should include what action, if any, was taken in response to the allegations.

Filner was charged with assault in the Virginia incident on Aug. 19, exactly one month ago Wednesday.

The California lawmaker allegedly barged into the United Airlines baggage claim office, attempted to enter a restricted area and allegedly pushed aside the outstretched arm of an airline employee in the process.

Filner initially called the charges “ridiculous” and said accounts of what happened were “factually incorrect,” but he later issued a statement saying he regretted the incident.