investigations

Watch Live: House Hearing on Flint Water Crisis

President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint, Mich. on Jan. 16 freeing up federal aid to help with lead-contaminated drinking water. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Mich.  

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Flint are among the witnesses expected to testify.  

The 'Concussion' Effect? Congress to Probe Head Injuries

Clemens testified about steroid use in Major League Baseball in 2008, and spent years waging a legal battle over that testimony. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

"Concussion," the eagerly awaited feature film about a doctor who takes on the NFL to warn about the neurological dangers of America's most popular sport, will be released on Christmas Day.  

The Oscar-bait movie, starring Will Smith as Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is being released just three days after the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it would initiate a wide-ranging investigation into concussions when Congress returns in January. “We often hear about concussions in the context of service members and athletes, but this problem goes well beyond the battlefield and the gridiron. It’s a matter of public health as these injuries are prevalent in all ages and across the population. Unfortunately, there’s a lot we don’t know about head trauma — how it effects different subsets of the population, the short and long term effects, and other details critical to developing effective diagnostics and treatments,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement Tuesday announcing his panel's intentions.  

Paul Ryan Asked to Curb Congressional Travel

Ryan hasn't traveled much during his tenure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker D. Paul Ryan should suspend privately funded foreign travel by House members and staff, watchdog organizations said Thursday in a two-page letter that asks the Wisconsin Republican to launch a formal task force to review travel rules.  

"The amount of privately-sponsored travel, once slashed by [the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act] to one-third its previous levels, is again rising near to the level of the Jack Abramoff travel junket era," the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Public Citizen and others warned. Ryan has accepted only two privately financed trips abroad over the past 15 years, according to Legistorm. A database of congressional travel from 2000 to present shows Ryan traveled to Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates with the Islamic Institute in 2004 and Tel Aviv, Israel, with the American Israel Education Foundation in 2005. He's taken a total of 17 privately funded trips, mainly to domestic destinations.

Fattah's Son Found Guilty on 22 Counts in Fraud Case

Fattah's son was convicted Thursday. The father is facing a 29-count indictment himself. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A jury found Rep. Chaka Fattah's son guilty on 22 of 23 counts Thursday in a federal bank and tax fraud case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr. was indicted on July 29, 2014, for alleged misspending of loans and education funds he received as part of his role in school management. One year later, federal prosecutors announced a 29-count indictment against his father, an 11-term Pennsylvania Democrat.  

In the latter half of 2014, multiple members of the congressman’s inner circle were targeted by the Department of Justice.  

Despite Hush-Money Plea, Hastert Keeps Pension

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert may have lost his Capitol portrait after pleading guilty to a felony, but he still gets to keep his pension — estimated at more than $70,000 per year.  

The Illinois Republican pleaded guilty on Oct. 28 to evading banking reporting rules as part of a hush-money case to cover up prior misconduct, which reports linked to sexual abuse. Less than one week later, his portrait vanished from the Speaker's Lobby and is now nowhere to be found. But despite losing that place of prominence in the Capitol, the former speaker can still collect his congressional pension. According to a 2013 Congressional Research Service report , a lawmaker who is convicted of one or more of a litany of felonies can be forced to forfeit his or her pension. But that forfeiture only applies to crimes committed while in office.  

Hastert Pleads Guilty in Hush Money Scheme

Hastert pleaded guilty. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:30 a.m. | Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty during a Chicago federal court hearing Wednesday morning to evading federal bank reporting requirements as he withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in hush money.  

Justice Department prosecutors asked for zero to six months in prison for the Illinois Republican, but the judge is not bound by those guidelines. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 29. The 30-minute hearing leaves more questions than answers about the longtime GOP leader's misdeeds.  

DOJ Clears Lois Lerner, Closes IRS Investigation

Lerner in a House Oversight Committee hearing in in 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress wanted to jail her , but the Justice Department closed its investigation Friday into the IRS's handling of tax-exemption applications from political groups without pursuing criminal charges against Lois Lerner.  

In a letter to congressional committees probing the allegations that Lerner knowingly presided over the improper targeting of conservative organizations, Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik said the DOJ "found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.” The investigation, launched in May 2013, uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgement and institutional inertia, Kadzik stated. No IRS employee interviewed by the DOJ reported having any information suggesting actions were taken "with the purpose of harming or harassing applicants affiliated with the Tea Party or similar groups," he stated. Even politically conservative employees who were critical of Lerner's leadership and management style did not suspect their boss acted with political, discriminatory or corrupt purposes.  

Secret Service Retaliation Against Chaffetz Prompts Hearing

Secret Service agents accessed Chaffetz's private information, prompting a joint congressional hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Secret Service is under congressional fire next week for retaliation against Rep. Jason Chaffetz and the Utah Republican's tough questioning  of the agency.  

Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy will appear before a joint hearing on Oct. 27 to answer questions about the findings of an OIG report , which determined 45 Secret Service employees accessed the House Oversight and Government Reform chairman's personal information a total of 60 times, with some leaking information to the media.  

Hidden Cash Financed Lawmakers' Turkey Trips

Lujan Grisham and a companion stayed at a five-star palace-turned-hotel in Istanbul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

From Ankara to Istanbul, Capitol Hill lawmakers and staff took 159 privately sponsored trips to Turkey during the 113th Congress, putting the nation second only to Israel in popularity as a foreign destination.  

But a recent report suggests hidden sources, never vetted by the House Ethics Committee, footed the bill for five-star hotels and dining during some members' all-expenses-paid jaunts. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., accepted an $8,700 nine-day trip, paid for by the Council of Turkic American Associations, according to documents filed with the Ethics Committee. She flew business class in May 2013 and stayed at Istanbul's Crowne Plaza & Hagia Sophia and the Rixos Grand Ankara.  

Post-Schock Spending Rules Unveiled

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seven months after Rep. Aaron Schock's resignation from Congress, the House Administration Committee will unveil new regulations governing how members can spend from their taxpayer-funded accounts. On Wednesday morning, Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., will mark up a resolution to amend the committee's regulations.  

More transparency and tighter restrictions on mileage reimbursements would be implemented under the proposal.