For the third time in almost as many weeks, there is news that another Congressional Black Caucus member is at the center of an ethics probe. This time it’s New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, who in 2007 received a $40,000 loan from Ed Ahmad, a Queens real estate broker who has been investigated numerous times for fraud and predatory lending. Meeks did not disclose the loan until last year when he repaid it. He also allegedly failed to disclose the source of income earned by his wife. The House Ethics Committee announced late Friday that it is extending its investigation into whether Meeks violated House rules.
“The committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee,” it said in a statement late Friday.
The panel has until August 15 to decide whether it will launch a formal investigation.
“I’m pleased that the Ethics Committee went on record to say that the mere fact of the OCE referral does not suggest that any violation occurred,” Meeks said in a statement. “I’m confident the committee will find that the OCE referral merits no further review. I will respect the committee’s process and withhold my comments until it completes its work.”
Last week, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington announced last that it has asked the FBI to launch an investigation of Rep. Laura Richardson (D-California) for allegedly forcing her congressional staff to perform campaign duties. In addition, the House Ethics Committee is investigating sexual harassment charges against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida).