In the wake of allegations that the House ethics probe against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) may have been tainted by improper conduct by investigators, the Ethics Committee has hired former veteran prosecutor official Billy Martin as an outside counsel to look into the matter.
“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,” Committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) said in a release, adding that Martin will start on the Waters investigation immediately.
Martin, now a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, is a former local and federal prosecutor. He started in Cincinnati, Ohio before joining the Justice Department and at age 29 was named managing attorney for the Dayton branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Southern Ohio. He has also served an Organized Crime Strike Force in San Francisco and as Executive Assistant United States Attorney in Washington D.C., where he oversaw the prosecution of then-D.C. Mayor Marion Barry on drug charges. He graduated from Howard University as an undergraduate in 1973 and the University of Cincinnati College of Law as a law student three years later.
The Committee’s statement says Martin has also represented elected officials of both parties as a defense lawyer and he joined Dorsey & Whitney in March of this year.
“The outside counsel’s review will also help assure all respondents and the entire House community of the integrity of the Committee’s process for all matters,” Bonner and Sanchez said.
That integrity has already come under serious challenge. Two Committee investigators are alleged to have improperly shared details of the investigation of Waters to Republican committee members.