For the second time this year, a congressional ethics panel has brought on outside counsel to handle a tricky investigation. This time, it's Billy Martin's turn.
Martin, the well-known trial attorney who joined Dorsey & Whitney's Washington office in March, has been hired by the House Ethics Committee. His task is relatively complicated, according to a statement (PDF) released today by the committee: review the actions of former staff members of the ethics committee itself, to see whether they acted properly in their investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and then, if the committee decides to move forward with its Waters probe, to help bring that case to a conclusion.
Lawmakers have been under pressure to bring in outside help after reports this week, starting in Politico, that some staff may have improperly shared information about Waters’ case. Martin declined to comment today, through a firm spokesman. Waters’ attorney Stanley Brand did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Martin was chosen after a “competitive process” that included “numerous excellent candidates,” according to the ethics committee. His past clients include former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell. Terms of Martin’s contract were not disclosed.
“The hiring of an outside counsel will allow for an independent review and a faster resolution than if the committee staff were to handle it alone,” the committee’s statement says.
Also this year, the Senate Ethics Committee brought in K&L Gates partner Carol Elder Bruce to help conclude its investigation into then-Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). Ensign resigned in May. Daniel Schwager, the new staff director and chief counsel of the House Ethics Committee, previously worked for the Senate Ethics Committee.