Republicans have ensured that a summary of evidence on House Speaker Newt Gingrich's college course - and its compliance with tax laws - will remain secret until the House ethics committee decides to release it.
In a vote mostly along party lines Thursday, the House voted 225-179 to set aside a Democratic resolution by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to force disclosure of the report. The document was compiled last month by James Cole, an outside counsel hired by the ethics panel.Later Thursday, the ethics committee dismissed another Democratic complaint that Gingrich allowed a businessman to misuse his office. But a committee letter to Gingrich nonetheless criticized the speaker for "a continuing pattern of lax administration and poor judgment."
This was the second time this year the committee admonished Gingrich for letting telecommunications entrepreneur Donald Jones work freely out of the speaker's office as a volunteer.
The committee recommended no punishment in either instance but warned Gingrich to "prevent the recurrence of similar incidents" and "guard against even the appearance of impropriety."
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