Past investigations into members of Congress

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Editor's: This article is an index of past investigations into members of Congress by the congressional ethics committees or law enforcement authorities, based on credible media reports. All information here is taken from the members' personal profile pages. If you wish to edit or contribute to this article, please make sure to first add the information to those profiles (with a source).

  • For ongoing investigations involving current and former members of Congress, see the main Congresspedia category page on members under investigation.


Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)

Pete Domenici is the subject of a "preliminary inquiry" by the Senate Ethics Committee for his role in the U.S. attorney firings controversy. In March 2007, Domenici admitted to contacting the U.S. attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias, concerning an ongoing investigation into a New Mexico Democrat in late 2006. Iglesias, who was fired weeks later, alleged that Domenici pressured him to accelerate the pace of the probe. Domenici’s actions appeared to violate Senate rules. In a discussion of Senate Rule 43, the Senate Ethics Manual states that “[t]he general advice of the Ethics Committee concerning pending court actions is that Senate offices should refrain from intervening in such legal actions...until the matter has reached a resolution in the courts.” The manual also indicates that senators should not consult with an agency regarding any enforcement or investigative matter.

Former Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)

Conrad Burns is under investigation for his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Burns has been alleged to have received campaign contributions from Abramoff in exchange for positive action including helping to secure a $3 million earmark for an Abramoff tribal client and for opposing minimum wage laws and labor regulations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, another Abramoff client. Burns’ campaign committee and his political action committee received $146,590 from Abramoff and his clients. Burns lost his November 2006 reelection bid to Democrat Jon Tester. The Justice Department ended its investigation in January 2008.

Former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)

Bill Frist was under investigation by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for insider trading. Frist sold his stock in HCA -- the largest private operator of health care facilities which is owned by his family -- from his blind trust two weeks before the company announced that earnings would not meet expectations, which caused a substantial drop in the share price. In April 2007, the investigation was closed without any charges filed.

Former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.)

Prosecutors found no wrongdoing and ultimately closed an inquiry into whether Jim Kolbe had inappropriate relations with a House page during a July 1996 camping trip to the Grand Canyon with two teenage congressional pages. The investigation was launched after an unidentified former male page made allegations about Kolbe's behavior on the trip. Specifically, the young man allegedly told authorities that he was “uncomfortable with a particular social encounter” that involved physical contact when he and Kolbe were alone. Also on the trip were National Park Service employees, several Kolbe staffers and Kolbe's sister. Kolbe did not run for reelection in 2006.