The House Ethics Committee released its findings on four separate cases Thursday, a day when few were really paying attention.

Everyone on Capitol Hill is focused on squeezing months worth of work into several days, so the panel’s decision to clear two members and reprove two others was like an end-of-the-year document dump. But happy holidays to them! They can stop paying those attorney bills.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) both received “letters of reproval,” which is the congressional equivalent of a slap on the wrist or a tsk-tsk. Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) were cleared of any wrongdoing. Gingrey and Petri are both leaving Congress.

  • Chu was publicly shamed for interfering in an investigation into whether her staff had done campaign work while on official time.
  • Gingrey received his letter of shame for arranging meetings with government officials and staff for a bank outside his district where Gingrey had financial interests.
  • Petri was cleared of allegations that his advocacy to the Defense Department on behalf of a large contractor in his district, in which he owned stock, was a conflict of interest.
  • Hastings was found not to be guilty of sexually harassing a female staff member on the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, commonly referred to as the Helsinki Commission. The committee did not have enough evidence to substantiate her claims, though Hastings did admit to once telling her “that he had difficulty sleeping after sex.”

Another day.