2010-07-23 / Front Page

CREW Calls For Meeks Investigation

By Howard Schwach

Acitizen’s watchdog group in Washington, D.C. is calling for a House of Representatives investigation into the dealings of Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula.

“The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requests that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) begin an investigation into the conduct of Representative Gregory Meeks for violating federal law and House rules by taking an improper gift, by failing to seek the approval of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct before accepting the so-called loan, and by failing to disclose the gift/loan on his personal financial disclosure forms,” the group said in a recent letter to OCE.

In June, Meeks admitted to reporters for the New York Daily News that he had obtained two loans, totaling $55,000, from a Queens businessman and Democratic fundraiser, but failed to report those loans on either his 2007 or 2008 disclosure forms, although he did submit an amended form noting the two loans after the Daily News story was published.

Meeks called his failure to list the two loans as an “oversight” on his part.

“Meeks got caught with his hand in the cookie jar,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.

In the complaint to the ethics committee, Sloan questioned whether the $40,000 that Meeks got from Edul Ahmad was even a loan at all, because there were none of the usual accoutrements of a loan: no loan document; no repayment schedule and no interest schedule. In addition, Meeks did not begin to pay off the loans until he was questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this year.

Sloan argues that Meeks’ “oversight” might be criminal because not reporting it on his official disclosure forms could be construed as making false statements.

Meeks admitted to investigators this week that he had used $35,000 from his campaign funds to pay for his lawyers, something else that may not be ethical, CREW officials say.

Meeks did not return calls for comment on this story.

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