Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) has his hands on the reins of the Justice Department budget at the same time the Feds are investigating his personal finances and allegations he steered taxpayer dollars to non-profits Mollohan himself created.
The Washington Post today reports on the conflict, which led Mollohan to recuse himself from voting on certain DOJ budget items, including for the FBI, according to his office. He is the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.
But Mollohan’s recusal hasn’t mollified one conservative critic of the lawmaker:
“There are a hundred ways he can influence what happens with the department’s funding — without one vote. Everything goes through his committee,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group that alleged in a complaint that the congressman had not reported the nature and increasing value of his real estate investments. “If that’s not a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is.”
The House ethics document leaked to the Post late last month suggests the DOJ is still scrutinizing the 14-term lawmaker. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office told the Post that Mollohan’s recusal from certain votes was enough to satisfy Pelosi.
Republicans in his district are lining up to take on Mollohan next year, and his ethics issues will no doubt be a liability.
This isn’t the first time that a congressman’s legal difficulties have created conflicts with their legislative duties. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), who has been subpoenaed as part of the probe into now-defunct lobbying shop PMA, in June handed off to another lawmaker an appropriations bill on the Energy and Water Subcommittee, which he chairs. As it happens, Visclosky is also a member of the subcommittee with control over the DOJ’s budget.