GOP Attempt to Force Eric Massa Probe Fails


House Republican Leader John Boehner Thursday offered a privileged resolution ordering the House ethics committee to investigate what members of the House leadership (as well as their staff) knew about allegations against former Democratic Rep. Eric Massa before the formal ethics inquiry into Massa's behavior began.

The resolution cited a statement by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office indicating Hoyer was made aware of allegations of misconduct in February and questions when and what House speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about them. It ordered the ethics committee to investigate and return a report by June 30th.

But Boehner's attempt was rebuffed Thursday afternoon when the House voted overwhelmingly to instead allow the ethics committee to determine its next move. The 402-1 vote means there may or may not be further inquiry into the Massa affair. The initial House ethics inquiry into Massa was formally ended Wednesday.

When members resign from the House, ethics inquiries are usually, though not always, closed -- Republicans have been quick to point out that the case involving former GOP Rep. Mark Foley was investigated even after Foley left office.

Republicans are eager to keep the spotlight on Massa and have raised questions about a cover-up on the part of the House leadership. Hoyer has said that when he learned of the allegations that Massa had sexually harassed a staffer, he demanded it quickly be referred to the ethics committee.

Pelosi's office reportedly heard concerns about Massa in October, though they involved not sexual harassment but claims that Massa had hired too many staff members, was living with several of them, and used foul language around them.

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