Former Rangel staffer in ethics probe remains Fudge's chief of staff

The former ethics committee staffer who was admonished along with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) remains in her job as chief of staff to Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeFarm bill abandons endangered wildlife House rejects effort to condemn lawmaker for demanding 'Dreamer' arrests Hispanic Dems seek vote to condemn GOP lawmaker for demanding arrests of 'Dreamers' MORE (D-Ohio).

Fudge issued a statement Friday praising Dawn Mobley’s work in her office and noting that she was taking the matter under review after first learning about the ethics committee action that morning.

"Today, Dawn Kelly Mobley, my chief of staff, notified me of her public admonishment by the House ethics committee,” Fudge said. “I had no prior knowledge of the investigation into her actions that allegedly took place in 2007, a year before I joined Congress.

“Dawn has been a consummate professional in her public service to both me personally and my office,” Fudge continued. “After a thorough reading of the committee's report, I will determine what if any action to take. The ethics committee has not requested any specific response. It should also be noted that the committee's public admonishment is the least severe penalty at its disposal.”

The ethics committee rarely takes disciplinary action against members and staff. In 2004, it admonished then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) three times for breaking House rules in a series of misdeeds, including asking the Federal Aviation Administration to track an airplane carrying Democratic state legislators from Texas who were opposing DeLay’s planned redistricting; improperly hosting a fundraiser with energy lobbyists; and promising to support the candidacy of the son of a retiring member in order to win the member's vote on the Medicare bill.

The ethics committee determined that Mobley “improperly communicated confidential internal committee information” to a nonprofit group organizing a business conference in the Caribbean in 2007 while she was a counsel to the ethics committee under Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), who chaired the panel at the time.

Fudge hired Mobley after Jones’s death in mid-2008.

The Carib News Foundation, a group affiliated with a newspaper catering to Caribbean immigrants in New York, organized the trip but accepted improper corporate sponsors from Citigroup, Verizon, Pfizer, IBM and others earmarked specifically to pay for the conference, the committee found.

In fact, the ethics committee discovered that officers and employees of the Carib News and the Carib News Foundation — Karl Rodney, Faye Rodney and Patricia Louis — submitted “false and misleading information” to the committee during its pre-travel reviews of the 2007 and 2008 conferences and again when providing sworn testimony to the investigative subcommittee.

The panel unanimously voted to refer the information about the officers of the Carib News and the Carib News Foundation to the Department of Justice “for further action as it deems appropriate,” the panel said in its statement.

During its investigation, the committee also found that Mobley, who had served as the counsel to Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), had leaked confidential information to Carib News employees during the 2007 ethics committee review of the trip.

Mobley, the panel found, “improperly communicated confidential internal committee information to officers and employees of Carib News, Karly Rodney and Patricia Louis, and ... improperly influenced the information provided by Karl Rodney and Patricia Louis to [ethics] committee staff during the committee’s review of the 2007 Multi-National Business Conference.”

“It is the intention of this committee that publication of this report will serve as a public admonishment by the Standards Committee of Ms. Mobley,” the panel wrote in its report.