Corruption Probe Hangs Over Mollohan

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is the subject of a story in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register newspapers today about the investigation touched off by NLPC.

The immediate reason for revisiting the issue is the naming of Mollohan as one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress for the fourth year in a row by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Following a nine-month investigation, NLPC filed a 500-page Complaint on February 28, 2006 with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia detailing more than 250 misrepresentations and omissions on Mollohan’s disclosure reports, prompting an extensive probe by the FBI.

In the story, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm offers comment on why the investigation is taking so long:

He noted that the federal case against former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich took more than five years before charges were announced. The case was expedited when Blagojevich, who was to appoint the successor to President Obama’s former Senate seat, allegedly was found to be offering the seat for financial profit to himself.

Boehm also made reference to the federal case against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, which was put together quickly.

“It was rushed, there were a lot of mistakes, and the case was overturned,” Boehm said of the Stevens case. “And now the people who did the investigating are being investigated.

“But these are different people (investigating Mollohan), and they know how to do their jobs. They don’t give out press releases telling where they are on a case for obvious reasons. At some point, they’ll tell us what we need to hear.”

In the firestorm that followed NLPC’s original allegations against Mollohan, he was forced to resign as ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee. When  Democrats won Congress, Mollohan became chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies — the same committee that controls the budgets of the Justice Department and the FBI.

As the article notes:

Mollohan vowed at that time he would abstain from any votes pertaining to the agencies while he was under investigation. This year, he nevertheless participated in approving their appropriations.

Mollohan’s broken promise flared as an issue on the House floor on June 17 this year when Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) characterized Mollohan’s conflict of interest as “an elephant in the room.”

Also earlier this year, Roll Call reported that a recipient of a Mollohan earmark, known as the West Virginia High Tech Consortium, has provided $75,000 in free rent and other services to the Robert H. Mollohan Family Charitable Foundation.

The Foundation is controlled by Mollohan and is named for his father who served two separate stints in Congress. In 1956, Mollohan left Congress to run unsuccessfully for governor of West Virginia.

According to the 1982 edition of Politics in America:

…Mollohan was crippled by political scandal. It was revealed during the campaign that while Mollohan was superintendent of the states’ boys school, he had received $20,000 and two cars from a Grafton coal company that obtained a contract to strip-mine on school land.


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