It was a busy second quarter for the ethics police at the Office of Congressional Ethics.
The office announced on Thursday that it began nine new preliminary inquiries in the second quarter, the most it has undertaken in a single quarter in the current Congress.
The office, which was created in the aftermath of the influence-peddling scandal that sent former lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison, has the power to independently begin probes into lawmakers and then refer its findings to the more formal House Ethics Committee, which can mete out punishment.
The office referred only one case to the House Ethics Committee for further review during the second quarter, on April 2. That case involves the campaign spending practices of Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J..
The OCE does not reveal the names of the lawmakers it is reviewing, but the ethics panel has since publicized the Andrews case.
Four other cases involving unnamed lawmakers were recommended for dismissal in the second quarter.
Five of the new OCE inquiries began on June 28, the end very end of quarter. Two began on May 1. And two began on May 24. The office has up to 90 days to decide how to proceed in each of those cases.
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