Times Plays Catch-Up to Washington Post on Congressional Ethics Scoop

A big lead-story scoop from the Washington Post becomes a Page 22 piece in Friday's New York Times.

The Times buried revelations, broken by the Washington Post Thursday evening, showing that dozens of lawmakers in Congress are under ethics inquiries. Eric Lichtblau and Eric Lipton's attempt at catching up with the Post, "Ethics Inquiries Into Lawmakers Surface via Security Breach," appeared on page A22 of Friday's print edition.

By contrast, the Washington Post, which broke the story on its web page Thursday night, led with the story in its print edition Friday morning.

The Times, surprisingly, was quicker than the Post to reveal that two figures under intense scrutiny are Democrats:

The House ethics committee announced Thursday that it would begin full investigations into two House members, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson, but a security breach threatened to make public the names of many other members facing ethics inquiries.

The separate investigations into private financial matters of Ms. Waters and Ms. Richardson, both California Democrats, suggest a stepped-up effort by the ethics committee at a time when it has faced criticism for the slow pace of its work.


Including the investigations of Ms. Waters and Ms. Richardson, the committee has now publicly acknowledged at least eight investigations, with the most prominent focused on Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

After the Times revealed it was playing catch-up to the Post on the story, it called attention to the partisan breakdown of lawmakers under additional scrutiny - five Democrats compared to two Republicans:

The Washington Post, which reported Thursday evening in an article on its Web site that it had a copy of the memorandum, said the document indicated that at least seven lawmakers are the focus of a previously announced investigation into earmarks given to military contractors at the request of a now-defunct Washington lobbying firm, the PMA Group. The lawmakers are five Democrats - John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana, James P. Moran of Virginia, Norm Dicks of Washington and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio - and two Republicans, Todd Tiahrt of Kansas and C. W. Bill Young of Florida.