Pelosi Defends Handling of Massa Scandal

Posted March 11, 2010 at 9:29pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday defended her office’s handling of the scandal swirling around former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), saying information about his behavior that surfaced last year did not merit a referral to the ethics committee.

“Any report to our office was in February that there was an allegation against him and at the same time that it was referred to the ethics committee, and that was the appropriate route,” Pelosi said in an interview that aired Thursday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” “I’m now finding out that there had been a conversation earlier, but it had nothing to do — to even come close to any kind of an allegation.”

A Pelosi aide was reportedly briefed in October that Massa was living with several male staffers and used inappropriate language with them. But Pelosi on Thursday said that what her office learned was seemingly unremarkable information published in a newspaper profile of Massa. The top House Democrat said, “In terms of anything that is worthy of attention of the ethics committee, that was in February, when it was reported to the ethics committee.”

The House voted Thursday to refer to the ethics committee — formally known as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct — a resolution calling on it to continue probing the Massa case, including what Democratic leaders knew about it and when they knew it.