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Robert Walker Quoted in Coverage of U.S. House Intelligence Committee

The Guardian
August 15, 2013

Robert L. Walker, an attorney in Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was quoted yesterday in a Guardian article about allegations that a U.S. House intelligence panel withheld surveillance information from other lawmakers before a 2011 vote to renew the Patriot Act.

A Republican congressman and government ethics watchdogs are pressing the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to explain whether the panel failed to provide non-committee members with a document about phone records surveillance, the Guardian reported.  The document, prepared by the U.S. Justice Department and the intelligence community, was reportedly designed to be shared with lawmakers who do not serve on the panel.

So far, no legislator has recommended that the House Ethics Committee investigate any members of the intelligence panel with respect to the allegations, according to the article.  The Ethics Committee has a broad mandate to investigate violations of House rules or the law.

Mr. Walker, a former chief counsel and staff director of both the House and Senate ethics committees, said he does not believe the ethics panel is likely to get involved.

“It doesn't strike me that this is a violation of any rule or standard within the Ethics Committee’s jurisdiction,” Mr. Walker said.  “I can understand why there may be strong feelings on both sides of this.  But if there’s a dispute on this, I don't see this as falling within the Ethics Committee’s jurisdiction.”