Ethics Process Regarding Rep. Weiner

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for an Ethics Committee investigation into inappropriate communication Rep. Anthony Weiner admitted to having with multiple women.

"I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation," Pelosi said in a statement. "I am calling for an Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred."

The House of Representatives ethics process on "conduct unbecoming a member" is murky.

There is no concrete "morals" clause in the House rules, and this area is actually very vague.

It does not appear that Weiner has done anything illegal. This is more of a judgment issue.

A referral would have to be made to the Ethics Committee.

The Ethics Committee would then have to determine whether there was enough "there, there." And if there is, they would then empanel an investigative subcommittee, which is the Congressional equivalent of an indictment.

That subcommittee would then probe potential wrongdoing and issue a report.

If it recommends punishment at the end of that investigation, the entire House would have to vote whether to punish him.

There's another option here, too.

Any member could potentially craft a resolution, which could be brought before the House, which would recommend reprimand, censure or expulsion. If ruled in order, the House could vote on such a resolution.

Certainly, some members will want action because he was so overt in lying to the press.

Again, with the House out this week, it is hard to gauge the feeling of lawmakers on this.

But conduct unbecoming a member is an interesting area.

For instance, one of the first ethics cases in House history in the early 1800s involved the House disciplining a member for cussing out the Speaker of the House.

If a picture of Weiner emerges, of him in some sort of a compromising position, or if there is found to be a misuse of Congressional resources, or some of these women are underage, the Ethics Committee would be hard pressed not to act against him.