From Roll Call:
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has predicted that the Senate will not take up the House ethics investigation of fellow Nevada Democrat Rep. Shelley Berkley if she unseats Sen. Dean Heller (R) on Nov. 6, even though the Senate’s ethics rules and precedent seem to indicate that it has the authority to examine allegations related to the conduct of lawmakers before their arrival in the chamber.
“The Select Committee was intended ‘to be free to investigate anything which, in its judgment, seemed worthy, deserving, and requiring investigation’ and ‘would not be limited to alleged violations of Senate rules, but it would take into account all improper conduct of any kind whatsoever,” the Senate Ethics Manual states.
Reid told the Las Vegas Sun earlier this week that the House investigation into whether Berkley broke ethics rules or laws when she intervened to save a kidney transplant program at a hospital where her physician husband had a lucrative contract was “politically driven nonsense.”
“The Ethics Committee in the House is different than what we have in the Senate. Much different. If this were not an election year, [the issue] would be long gone,” Reid told the newspaper in an interview Monday.
A Reid spokesman said the Senator was simply pointing out that the investigation began after the issue was raised by Nevada’s Republican Party.
The House Ethics Committee announced in July that it was forming an investigative subcommittee to determine whether Berkley violated “any law, rule, regulation, or other applicable standard of conduct … with respect to alleged communications and activities with or on behalf of entities in which Representative Berkley’s husband had a financial interest.”
Given the timetable of the committee’s previous investigations, it is unlikely that the matter will be concluded before Berkley leaves the House at the end of this Congress.