From American Progress:
ETHICS -- CONGRESSMAN UNDER CORRUPTION PROBE CARRIES OUT MASS FIRING OF INVESTIGATIVE STAFF:
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, abruptly "dismissed most of the panel's team of waste and fraud investigators this week, firing about 60 contractors who had been examining federal spending related to Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq war and other programs."
The investigators, who were "brought on to handle the extraordinary level of fraud investigations facing the panel," said they were told "not to come to work on Oct. 17 and that they had a week to turn in their congressional ID badges and collect their belongings."
"This eviscerates the investigatory function. There is little if any ability to do any oversight now," said one of the investigators, a former FBI agent. "This staff has saved billions and billions of dollars, we've turned up malfeasance and misfeasance. Its results justify the expense of the staff. I have no idea why the chairman would do this."
Lewis is currently under federal investigation over corruption charges reportedly uncovered during the Duke Cunningham investigation. He has spent nearly $800,000 in legal fees since May to defend himself against the probe.