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Goss Recuses Himself From Ethics Panel Goss Recuses Himself From Ethics Panel

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Congress / ETHICS

Goss Recuses Himself From Ethics Panel

Former congressman steps aside pending outcome of son's House race.

photo of Shane Goldmacher
December 15, 2011

The chairman of the Office of Congressional Ethics, former CIA Director Porter Goss, has recused himself from his post probing the alleged misdeeds of House members because his son is running for Congress in Florida.

The elder Goss, a Republican who represented Florida for 16 years in the House, has served as cochairman of the outside investigatory panel since its creation in 2008. He was jointly appointed by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and then-Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“He will be completely removed from all the investigative activities of this office,” said Kelly Brewington, an OCE spokeswoman. Goss is not stepping down from the board.

 

Chauncey Goss announced in early November that he would seek the seat of Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., who is running for the U.S. Senate. Chauncey Goss had said he was “seriously exploring” a bid for Congress as far back as April.

The OCE was one of the creations of Pelosi’s four-year Democratic majority in the House, after she promised to “drain the swamp” after the scandal of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The office, which lacks subpoena power, acts much like a grand jury. It refers cases to the House Ethics Committee, which can then choose to pursue full-fledged investigations and discipline lawmakers.

The OCE did not formally announce the change in Goss’s status, but posted a notice on Goss’s page on its website saying the board had accepted his “request to be recused.” The note said Goss would be excluded from “investigative matters consistent with OCE code of conduct restrictions on political activity by OCE board and staff.

The code calls for board members to not participate “in any partisan political activity affecting an election to the House of Representatives.” So by recusing himself, Goss would conceivably be able to lend a hand to his son’s campaign.

Bill Frenzel, an alternate board member and former GOP member of Congress who retired in 1991 and is now a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, will vote in Goss’s place, Brewington said. She declined to speculate about Goss’s future should his son win election in 2012.          

 

 

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