Tags: US | Massa | Republicans

GOP Wants Massa Ethics Probe Reopened

Thursday, 11 Mar 2010 12:52 PM

House Minority Leader John Boehner said Thursday he wants the ethics panel probe of former Rep. Eric Massa reopened to find out what Democratic leaders and their staff knew about the allegations.

The Ohio Republican said there are many unanswered questions surrounding the sexual harassment allegations that were made against the New York Democrat. Boehner said he plans to file a House resolution on the matter later Thursday to "get to the bottom" of those questions.

Seeking to recapture control of the House in the midterm elections, Republicans have been portraying Massa as the latest symbol of Democratic ethical misconduct.

Republicans are mindful that GOP ethical misconduct was one reason the party lost control of the House in the 2006 elections. The Republicans were badly damaged by the case of then-Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida GOP lawmaker who sent sexually suggestive messages to former male pages. The party's woes worsened when it was learned that Republican leaders knew of the misconduct and took no action.

A Boehner spokesman said Thursday that the congressman's resolution will direct the ethics panel to fully investigate what House Democratic leaders and their staffers knew prior to March 3, 2010 about the allegations against Massa, and what actions they took after learning of the charges.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, House Democratic Campaign Committee chairman, confirmed earlier this week that the ethics panel had ended its investigation of Massa's alleged harassment of male staff members after Massa surrendered his seat.

But Van Hollen quickly acknowledged in an ABC News Web cast that Massa staff members who complained of harassment can still pursue the case in other forums.

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