Thompson’s ethics probe reveals bipartisan ‘see no evil’

The U.S. House of Representatives created a new House ethics system in early 2008 – adding the quasi-independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) – to the existing House Ethics Committee as part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s pledge to “drain the swamp” of Capitol Hill corruption.

But the results of that effort have been somewhat shy of that mark. Suffice it to say that the swamp remains intact.

One matter that finally drew the attention of the House Ethics Committee was travel by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton, and four other Democratic congressmen to attend conferences in the tropical island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.

The House Ethics Committee released a report Friday clearing Thompson and four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were accused of taking corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008 of intentional wrongdoing. The ethics panel did, however, say the representatives would have to pay the costs.

Sid Salter