A House ethics panel said it is continuing an "informal fact-finding" regarding possible bribes offered to Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) to secure his vote on the Medicare reform bill. On Dec. 8, 2003, the day President Bush signed the Medicare measure into law, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct initiated the inquiry following Smith's claims that GOP leaders promised financial support for his son's congressional campaign and other favors if he voted for the bill. The bill passed the House by a five-vote margin. A spokesman for Smith declined to comment today and would not say if Smith is standing by his allegation. A statement from the ethics committee said, "Our fact-finding activities are conducted on a confidential basis, and no further public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with the committee rules." Committee Chairman Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) did not return calls by deadline. -- by Jeff Tieman
Panel reviews alleged bribery in Medicare vote
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