WASHINGTON — Formal release of names of House members who wrote bad checks has been slowed as the ethics committee attempts to correct errors in the records of the House bank and considers members' explanations for their overdrafts.
In a letter to all House members March 23, ethics committee leaders indicated the number of bad checks attributed to individuals might be reduced if they can show that the bank was late in crediting their deposits.
The House voted March 13 to release the names of 355 current and former members who wrote bad checks, beginning with the 24 worst offenders. Many of those names have been made public, either through leaks or by members coming forward to admit writing bad checks and offering explanations to their constituents.
Several lawmakers have complained about poor record-keeping by the now-defunct bank and said some of their overdrafts were caused by bank errors, which the ethics committee letter in part confirms.
When the House voted for "full disclosure it voted to disclose a list that probably contains some mistakes," said the letter from Reps. Matthew McHugh (D) of New York and James Hansen (R) of Utah, leaders of the ethics subcommittee that conducted a five-month investigation of the check-bouncing scandal.
The General Accounting Office, which reviewed the bank's records for the subcommittee, corrected mistakes on the records of 66 members who appeared to be the most active check bouncers, including the 24 worst offenders, but did not correct the records of the other 289 people who wrote at least one bad check.