According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a congressional watchdog group, 15 lawmakers are currently under investigation for allegedly violating ethical standards. Of those four are Republicans and 11 are Democrats. That doesn't even include former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, who was recently found guilty of 11 of 16 charges of corruption. But just as not all members of congress are truly equal in the power they wield, not all members under an ethical cloud pose the same threat for Pelosi. In the House Democratic caucus, there are three that could be the greatest embarrassment for the House Speaker: Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel of New York, Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman Jack Murtha and Rep. Pete Visclosky.
"These are powerful people in the power structure in the House," says Jim Thurber, head of American University's Institute for Congressional and Presidential Studies. "They are also Pelosi's friends. If she does not let the Ethics committee do objective and aggressive work she undermines her political capital and the integrity of the ethics review. She leaves an opening, a wedge issue, for the Republicans in 2010." (see full article at TIME)