Lofgren, Bonner Reassure Members After Ethics Document Leak

Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:24pm

Updated: 8:26 p.m.House ethics committee leaders notified Members on Thursday that a confidential committee document was leaked to the Washington Post, potentially with the names of Members and staff on it.“We wanted to assure the body, first of all, this was an isolated incident, that to our knowledge has only occurred once,— said ethics ranking member Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), who revealed the leak during a colloquy on the House floor with the panel’s chairwoman, Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).Bonner said Members should also know that, despite the leak, “our security system for the committee has not been breached.—Some Members have already been receiving questions from the newspaper about information contained in the document. But Bonner said lawmakers should not be alarmed if their names are on the document since the committee keeps records on Members and staff for any number of reasons. He gave the example of the committee keeping a log of lawmakers who call to ask about whether he or she can take a trip.The fact that a Member called to inquire about rules relating to taking a trip “doesn’t mean that they are doing anything other than following the rules of the House,” Bonner said. “It should not be inferred that a Member is under investigation of the committee— because his or her name appears on a committee document.Lofgren reiterated that “at any one time… dozens of Members’ names are on our weekly report and no inference should be made as to any incorrect behavior of those Members.—Any other interpretation of a Member’s name appearing on a committee document “would be a serious mistake,— added Lofgren.Lofgren and Bonner were seen huddling closely with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for several minutes in the House chamber before delivering their remarks.The ethics committee issued a statement fingering a junior staffer.“Our initial review suggests that this unlawful access to confidential information involved the use of peer-to-peer file sharing software, who is no longer employed by the Committee, while working from home,— the committee said. “No matter how robust our cybersecurity systems are, they remain subject to individual error.—