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The House Ethics Committee will appoint an independent counsel to investigate ethics charges against House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The counsel will take up allegations by Ben Jones, a former Democratic Congressman from Georgia, that the Speaker's "Renewing American Civilization" college course was really a fundraising tool for Gingrich's GOPAC political action committee. TIME's Viveca Novak says the appointment could open the door to a broader investigation of the Speaker: "The outside counsel will not take the assignment without the authority to investigate anything he comes across. If, for instance, the person appointed as counsel is an expert on tax law and he comes across anything outside his area, he can hire someone else to investigate." Novak notes that another Ethics Committee inquiry awaits Gingrich, this time into a complaint to be filed by Democratic Whip David Bonior over Federal Elections Commission documents that show GOPAC may have violated federal election law by attempting to influence federal campaigns without registering as a federal PAC and disclosing its finances.