Retiring Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., created an appearance of impropriety when he called a federal prosecutor in New Mexico to inquire about the timing of corruption indictments, the Senate ethics committee said Thursday.
The committee criticized Domenici in a letter to the senator, but it recommended no punishment.[…]
“The committee finds no substantial evidence to determine that you attempted to improperly influence an ongoing investigation,” the committee letter said.
“The committee does find that you should have known that a federal prosecutor receiving such a telephone call, coupled with an approaching election which may have turned on or been influenced by the prosecutor’s actions … created an appearance of impropriety that reflected unfavorably on the Senate.”
It looks like New Mexico’s senior senator is brushing the letter aside, and he’s heading on his way out anyway, but still, it’s interesting to see such strong language come out of the committee.