From Politico Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, wants to know why black lawmakers are being targeted in ethics investigations at a far higher rate than their non African-American colleagues.
And the Missouri Democrat, in a letter to Reps. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), the chairman and ranking member of the Ethics Committee, also demanded that they, as well four other Republicans serving on the secretive panel, step down from the committee until a special counsel finishes looking into how Ethics has handled the case against Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.).
Bonner, Sanchez and the four Republicans have recused themselves from the Waters matter while Billy Martin, the outside counsel, conducts his review. Martin was appointed last summer following a POLITICO report on internal committee memos from the former chief counsel raising questions on whether cases involving Waters and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) were handled in accordance with panel rules.
The Waters case has been dragging on for three years, and it is still unclear when it will be completed. Martin, who has a July 31 deadline to complete his report, held a private meeting with Ethics Committee staff on Wednesday.