Watchdog Calls For Ethics Review of Fossella

A left-leaning watchdog sent an ethics complaint Monday to the House of Representatives against embattled Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., who was recently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and bailed out by a woman who turned out to be his illegitimate baby's mother.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, also known as CREW, is asking for an ethics committee investigation into whether Fossella violated any House rules by having an affair with an Air Force official while with a congressional delegation to Europe in 2002. The officer, Lt. Col. Laura Fay, was serving as an Air Force congressional liaison officer.

In 2003, Fossella asked then-Speaker Dennis Hastert's Chief of Staff Scott Palmer to get him on another congressional delegation -- one Fay was on. Fossella, it has been reported, decided to jump off the trip in Spain and return home commercially -- at tremendous cost to the taxpayers -- reportedly $2,094.

Palmer filed a complaint with the Air Force about Fay's unprofessional conduct and asked that she be reassigned. CREW also cites sparse reporting that Fossella traveled with Fay to France in January 2003 on a solo mission.

CREW notes that the ethics committee is required to investigate the drunk driving charges -- and asks that the committee "consider whether, by using taxpayer-funded travel to pursue his romantic relationship with Lt. Col. Fay, Rep. Fossella violated House travel rules and the prohibition on conduct that does not reflect credibility on the House."