House Speaker Jim Wright says he can "put all the allegations to rest" once the House Ethics Committee hears his response to charges he violated conflict-of-interest rules through a book contract and lobbying for oil companies.
But although Wright, D-Texas, says he has formally asked the committee for an opportunity to appear, it's uncertain when that will occur.The committee held its second meeting Thursday to review the case against Wright. Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who filed the complaint against Wright, has also asked the panel to hire an independent counsel for the probe.
Gingrich, a political foe of the speaker, charged that Wright had a financial stake when he lobbied U.S. and foreign officials on behalf of oil companies, and when he accepted an unusually lucrative royalty contract from a friend and campaign contractor who published his last book.
Common Cause, a non-profit group which pushes for tighter government ethics standards, also has called for an ethics investigation.