Did ethics staff taint Waters, Rangel probes?

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From Politico:

The former staff director of the House Ethics Committee accused two top committee lawyers last year of secretly communicating with Republicans on the panel regarding the investigations of Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel, raising concerns over whether the long-running inquiries were compromised by key staffers, according to internal committee documents obtained by POLITICO.

Blake Chisam, the former staff director, wrote in a late 2010 memo to then-chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) that attorneys Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign improperly shared information in the Rangel case with Republicans on the committee — a move that “would have so tainted the proceedings that there would have been no option but to move to dismiss.” The Ethics Committee places strict limits on the sharing of evidence during “trials” for lawmakers; committee members act as prosecutors and lawmakers play the role of a jury.

While the Rangel case is over — he was censured by the full House in December 2010 — the allegations about Kim and Sovereign could have a major impact as the Ethics Committee prepares to meet on the Waters case early this week.

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