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Posted at 07:57 PM ET, 05/02/2011

Embattled House ethics panel hires top lawyer, filling four-month vacancy

The House Committee on Ethics has hired as its top lawyer a former counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. The move fills a spot that has been vacant for months amid controversy over the handling of an investigation of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Daniel A. Schwager began working as the House panel’s staff director and chief counsel on Monday, Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) announced.

In a statement, Bonner praised Schwager’s “nonpartisan professional experience and proven leadership,” while Sanchez heralded his “longstanding dedication to ensuring that our public servants meet the highest ethical standards.”

The committee’s announcement noted that the panel unanimously approved Schwager’s appointment and that he was selected from more than 400 applicants.

Schwager succeeds R. Blake Chisam, who resigned from the post last December amid turmoil at the committee over the Waters case. In an interview last month, Chisam said he had always planned to leave the post at the end of the 111th Congress. He now works at a top immigration law firm.

Schwager’s hiring comes as outside government reform groups have called on the Ethics Committee to resume the Waters investigation, which was postponed indefinitely late last year. The panel has not formally responded to the outside groups’ requests.

According to the committee’s announcement, Schwager previously worked for more than five years in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division; before that, he worked for more than five years in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

By  |  07:57 PM ET, 05/02/2011

 
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