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House Ethics Committee to ask Iglesias about call from Heather Wilson

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— Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of Albuquerque will be interviewed by the staff of the House ethics committee on Aug. 1 about a phone call he received in October from Rep. Heather Wilson.

The interview is the first sign the committee might consider whether Wilson, an Albuquerque Republican, violated House ethics rules by calling Iglesias about a pending investigation.

Wilson has not been notified of any investigation and has not hired a lawyer, according to her press spokesman, Joel Hannahs. That would indicate the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has not appointed a panel of members to sit as an investigating subcommittee, the first step in any formal investigation.

Iglesias said he was told he would be interviewed by the committee's chairwoman, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat, and its second-ranking Republican, Joe Bonner of Alabama.

Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici, also an Albuquerque Republican, each called Iglesias in October to ask about a pending investigation of courthouse construction contracts that involved former Democratic state Sen. Manny Aragon.

Iglesias, who was fired Dec. 7, has testified that Domenici asked him whether indictments would be issued soon and that Wilson asked about "sealed" indictments. Both calls were placed before the Nov. 7 election, in which Wilson faced a strong challenge from Democrat Patricia Madrid.

Domenici has said the phone call was a mistake, but Wilson has said she was making a legitimate inquiry in response to concerns she had heard about the pace of the investigation.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, filed a complaint against Domenici, which the Senate Ethics Committee was required by Senate rules to begin investigating.

But the group could only ask the House ethics committee to investigate Wilson or wait for a House member to forward the complaint. That hasn't happened.

Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, said she wasn't impressed that the House ethics committee staff is only now getting around to interviewing Iglesias. And it doesn't mean the committee will actually do anything, she added.

"It's certainly taken them long enough," said Sloan. "I haven't seen anything to indicate they're going to do anything serious here."