For Immediate Release: December 15, 2009
Contact: Brad White, Chairman; Mississippi Republican Party

Mississippians Deserve Answers from Bennie Thompson Regarding Ethics
Washington Post, New York Times, among others question Thompson’s ethics

“Democrats pledge to make this the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history.” – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, November 14, 2006

Jackson, Miss. – Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Brad White today called on Congressman Bennie Thompson to provide answers to Mississippians regarding the recent revelations he is facing multiple ethics investigations.

a document obtained by the Washington Post, the House Ethics Committee is investigating.

The New York Times reported on another investigation into a congressional junket in Tunica in 2008, apparently sponsored by lobbyists in violation of House Ethics rules. The sponsorships were allegedly concealed from pre-event forms filed with the ethics committee, and funds were funneled through the Congressional Black Caucus Institute of which Thompson is chairman of the board. The Times editorialized that if true, the behavior could be described as “fraud.” The political blog Talking Points Memo uncovered that the firm which organized the Tunica event – Chic Productions – was cofounded by Thompson’s committee communications director and the firm raked in over $20,000 from lobbyists last year to plan events honoring Thompson. The House Ethics Investigative Subcommittee approved investigative actions on the Tunica event.

In yet another matter, Thompson finds himself in hot water over a 2007 Caribbean trip hosted by the Inter-American Economic Council, funded by Allen Stanford of the fraudulent Stanford Financial Group, and like the Tunica event sponsored by corporations in apparent violation of House Ethics rules. He repeated the trip in 2008, this time with a corporate sponsor who had just the month before received billions of dollars in taxpayer TARP funds from Congress.

“It appears that a year can’t go by without Bennie Thompson doing something requiring investigation by the House Ethics Committee,” Chairman Brad White said. “Maybe that isn’t important to Democrats in Congress, but his constituents deserve some answers.”

• If credit card issues were so important to the Homeland Security Committee, why did they never act to correct their concerns?

• Why did Bennie Thompson hide the corporate sponsors of the Tunica event from the Ethics Committee?

• Are other government staffers who report to Thompson being paid for their political work on behalf of Thompson?

• What did Bennie Thompson and Allen Stanford talk about on Stanford yacht in the Caribbean in 2007? Did Thompson know Stanford and corporations were sponsoring the trip?

• Does Bennie Thompson share Nancy Pelosi’s commitment to an honest and ethical congress?

• Will Thompson cooperate with these investigations?

• Will Bennie Thompson pledge to follow the House Ethics rules, or should we expect to see more investigations next year?

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Mississippi Republican Party Release