updated 12/14/2006 12:55:05 PM ET 2006-12-14T17:55:05

House leaders are creating a bipartisan task force to recommend whether to establish an independent ethics panel to police the House, Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.

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Pelosi, D-Calif., said Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio has agreed to the idea. The task force has not been set up yet, but it will be expected to report back in March, she said.

Pelosi offered no details on what the outside ethics group might look like, saying that would be up to the task force.

"There is no question that the ethics process in the last couple of years has lost the confidence of the American people," Pelosi told a news conference.

Congress has been hit by a series of scandals recently, including the page scandal, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the bribery scandal that sent former Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham to prison.

The House Ethics Committee has been largely inactive throughout. It concluded last week that Republican lawmakers and aides failed for a decade to protect male pages from sexual come-ons by former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., but that no rules were broken and no one should be punished.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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