Crew Statement on Senate Ethics Committee “Qualified Admonition” of Senator Domenici
Washington, D.C. – The Senate Ethics Committee turned in its usual lackluster performance with its “qualified admonition” of Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) for improperly contacting New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias about a pending public corruption investigation. Despite Sen. Domenici’s telephone call to Mr. Iglesias and Mr. Iglesias’s statements that he felt pressured by Sen. Domenici’s actions, the ethics committee nevertheless found “no substantial evidence” that Sen. Domenici attempted to improperly influence the investigation. Adding insult to injury, the committee actually commended Sen. Domenici on his candor despite the fact that when Mr. Iglesias first revealed Sen. Domenici’s actions, the senator adamantly denied ever making the call, telling The Washington Post, “I have no idea what he’s talking about.”
CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan stated, “The ethics committee may have been unable to wholeheartedly condemn Senator Domenici’s conduct, but we have no such compunction.” Sloan continued, “The committee’s effort to minimize its reprimand of Senator Domenici itself reflects poorly on the Senate. Little is more destructive to our democracy than an attempt to use political power to influence a criminal investigation and it should be distressing to all Americans that the Senate Ethics Committee does not appear to share that view.”
CREW filed a Senate ethics complaint against Sen. Domenici on March 5, 2007. CREW’s complaint and the Senate Ethics Committee decision are available on the right.
We are still waiting for the House Ethics Committee to take any action against Reps. Heather Wilson (R-NM) or Doc Hastings (R-WA).
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Stephen Santulli at 202.408.5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.