Ethics panel clears Payne

The House Ethics Committee has cleared U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-Newark) after investigating complaints that he took trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by corporations that employ lobbyists – a violation of House rules.  The committee found that Payne did not knowingly violate the rules because he was unaware that those corporations had lobbyists on staff.

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was admonished by the ethics panel on the same complaint.

Payne was one of five Members of Congress targeted by a House Ethics Committee investigation of two Caribbean trips sponsored by the Carib News Foundation, a non-profit group funded by Citigroup.  Payne reportedly went on a three-day trip in St. Marteen in November 2008, and a four-day trip in 2007.  House rules prohibit Congressmen from participating in privately funded trips of more than two days.

Ethics panel clears Payne