5 House Members Leave Congress With Open Ethics Reviews

Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:01am
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The House Ethics Committee never launched a formal investigation of Bachmann and four other outgoing lawmakers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One often-repeated soundbite of state Sen. Lee Zeldin’s successful campaign to unseat Rep. Timothy H. Bishop in New York’s 1st District was, “Just call me the … mailman” — a line that came straight from the pages of an Office of Congressional Ethics report on the Democrat.

Republicans said Bishop was bragging in the email, included in an OCE report that revealed the congressman helped a constituent get government clearance for a bar mitzvah fireworks display. According to the OCE, Bishop then asked for “5 large” in campaign contributions.

The House Ethics Committee has not launched a formal investigation into the matter, but it appears the allegations still helped sink Bishop’s bid for a seventh term.

In accordance with rules requiring disclosure, the Ethics Committee publicly released the OCE’s report and findings on Sept. 11, 2013. The panel announced it would continue a fact-finding pursuant to Rule 18A, putting the Bishop probe in limbo with no requirement that any result be made public. One year later, the National Republican Congressional Committee hit the airwaves with a 30-second ad reminding voters that congressional ethics investigators and the FBI had both looked into the incumbent’s actions.