Monday, March 5, 2012
Congressional crimes: African-Americans make up 10% of the House, but as of the end of February 2012, five of the sitting six named lawmakers under review by the House Ethics Committee are black
At one point in late 2009, seven lawmakers were known to be involved in formal House ethics inquiries; all were members of the Congressional Black Caucus. An eighth caucus member, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, had also been under investigation, but his probe was halted temporarily while the Justice Department undertook an inquiry of its own. All told, about one-third of sitting black lawmakers have been named in an ethics probe during their careers, according to a National Journal review. Only two members of Congress have been formally charged with ethics violations in recent years and have faced the specter of public trials - Reps. Charles Rangel of New York (censured) and Maxine Waters of California (investigation ongoing). Both are black. There are no African-Americans in the Senate. Remember the most recent black senator, Roland Burris of Illinois? Reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee in 2009.