- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2009

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip D. Morse promised Wednesday to deal “swiftly” and “seriously” with any members of the force who are found to have participated in online forums that contained degrading references to women and glorified excessive drinking.

“We will investigate it vigorously,” Chief Morse told a congressional subcommittee Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill. “And if we find any misconduct, we will deal with it very swiftly and very seriously.”

The Washington Times reported Tuesday that an anonymous complaint addressed to the department contained the names of nine purported Capitol Police officers who were said to belong to a public group on the social networking site Facebook called the “Make-it-Rain Foundation for Underprivileged Hoes.”

One of the purported officers also founded a Facebook group called “Passed Out in Trashcans” - a three-member group geared toward “anyone else that has woken up from a long night of drinking to find themselves in the trashcan.”

During a budget hearing before the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the legislative branch, Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat, said she perceived the “Make-it-Rain” group as “hostile towards women” and said law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard of conduct than others, even in their private lives.

“That kind of conduct, if true, is not conduct that is simply left on Facebook or in their personal lives,” Mrs. Wasserman Schultz, the House’s chief deputy whip and a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said after the hearing. “A person who would be hostile towards women on a Facebook page would also likely be hostile towards women in the work environment.

“It’s incredibly important that law enforcement officers conduct themselves in a manner that is appropriate for interacting with the public and interacting with their colleagues,” she said.

During the hearing, Chief Morse referred to the force’s rules of conduct and promised to deal swiftly with officers “who do not embrace our core values.” The department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is looking into the complaint, and Mrs. Wasserman Schultz said an internal investigation is appropriate for now.

“It’s very concerning to me to have an allegation like that surface about the United States Capitol Police,” Chief Morse said. “Certainly we don’t condone any of that.”

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting representative in Congress, also has contacted the department about the Facebook postings, her office said.

“The congresswoman has spoken with U.S. Capitol Police Assistant Chief Daniel Nichols, and he assured her that the department has already begun investigating the matter, will continue its due diligence and, if officers are found to have taken inappropriate actions, the department will take action with them,” said Sonsyrea Montgomery, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Norton, a Democrat.

The Make-it-Rain group’s home page includes an excerpt about the escapades of NFL player Adam “Pacman” Jones in which the former Dallas Cowboy and Tennessee Titan approached an exotic dancer on stage and threw $1 bills into the air - an action known as “making it rain.”

“Please join our foundation’s mission by spreading the knowledge and pledging to help make it rain on the hoes in your life and the underprivileged hoes throughout the world,” the group’s page states. “If you are a hoe that is in need of rain, please look no further than the generous men gathered here to donate rain to your lives.”

The Times was able to access Facebook pages for three of the purported officers whose names appear in the anonymous complaint, which was addressed to the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

One of the page profiles depicted a man who identified himself as a Capitol Police officer. Another showed a photograph of a man in a Capitol Police uniform posing outside the Capitol, and a third page contained several candid photographs of a man in a Capitol Police T-shirt. The pages also contained personal information, such as members’ birth dates, cities of residence and photographs.

All three of the profiles identified their owners as members of the Make-it-Rain group. A day after The Times attempted to contact the purported officers through their public Facebook profiles, the three profiles had been made inaccessible.

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