In a statement, the Ethics Committee noted that the announcement of the investigation “does not, in and of itself, indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.”
In the Cawthorne case, all 10 Democrats and Republicans voted unanimously to create a subcommittee of inquiry into the actions of the embattled Republic of North Carolina. The committee said the subcommittee was tasked with determining whether Cawthorne “improperly promoted cryptocurrency in which he may have an undisclosed financial interest, and engaged in an improper relationship with an individual on his staff in Congress.”
Cawthorne denied wrongdoing, but that was not enough for Republican voters who rejected him from serving another term after citing his immaturity. Violation of the law for carrying a weapon at the airport and traffic violations.
The announcement comes after this month the PAC supercommittee formally requested an investigation into Cawthorn for seven potential violations of the House Code of Ethics. Senator. One of his top critics, Thom Tillis (RN.C), also last month urged the Ethics Committee to investigate whether Cawthorn was involved in insider trading in cryptocurrency that included a symbolic slur against President Biden.
The Ethics Committee met this month to discuss the misdemeanor charges brought against Cawthorne, North Carolina, for several cases of speeding and driving with a revoked license. The committee ultimately decided not to take any further action on the matter, stating that “the handling of this matter by local authorities is sufficient.” It did not say on Monday whether the start of an investigation into the other allegations was in response to requests from Tellis and the Grand Anti-Corruption Commission.
The investigation will likely continue until the end of the term, by which time Cawthorne will return to private life. It could expire before that time if Cawthorne decides to resign early, but it wouldn’t prevent the commission from publishing its findings.
In Jackson’s case, the Texas Republican Campaign Committee reported “campaign payments that may not be lawful and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to a bona fide campaign or political purposes,” the Congressional Ethics Office said in recommending further investigation of the matter. .
The Federal Election Commission prohibits the use of campaign funds for membership in country clubs and similar organizations. OCE said there was “substantial reason to believe” that Jackson used his congressional campaign funds “to pay for unlimited access to The Amarillo Club, a private dining club located in Amarillo, Texas.”
Jackson’s attorney asserted that the congressman’s use of the facility was for campaign purposes only.
“Neither Congressman Jackson nor any of his family members took advantage of any benefits from the Amarillo Club other than dining and meeting venues for campaign purposes,” attorney Justin R. Clark said in a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics in January. “Accordingly, all expenses involved were paid by Texas to Ronnie Jackson for campaign purposes.”
The House Ethics Committee also released a report on Mooney, who this month won the primary race for the Republican nomination for West Virginia’s second congressional district.
The report said the commission would continue to review several allegations against Mooney, including that he may have accepted a “free or below-market value trip” to Aruba, used campaign salesman’s property in Washington as a source of free lodging, and diverted campaign funds. For personal use and pressure on congressional staff to run personal orders for his family.
Mooney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The commission investigated a trip that Mooney took in March 2021 with his family to Aruba, where they stayed at the Ritz-Carlton and nearly all costs for accommodation, meals, drinks and amenities were paid for by HSP Direct, one of Mooney’s campaign vendors. According to the report, HSP Direct payments for the Mooney family vacation totaled nearly $11,000, “including private poolside cabanas, tours, guided activities, and at least one banquet” and “likely to constitute a gift not permitted under House rules.”
Mooney also appeared to be paying for a return trip to the United States with campaign money, which would have violated campaign finance laws, and may have violated both House rules and federal law by enlisting his congressional staff to plan his family’s vacation in Aruba at the official time, the commission found.
According to the report, Mooney refused to cooperate with the review by withholding documents related to the flight. However, the Ethics Committee was able to obtain documents and witness testimony on its own from both HSP Direct and from former and current Mooney employees.
“[T]o To what extent he claims a gift was permitted under a personal friendship or hospitality exception to the gift rule, these exceptions would not apply here,” the report stated. “Instead, it appears that it was only after 2020, when the MP was. Mooney began paying tens of thousands of dollars to HSP Direct for campaign services, as he and his family were invited on such a trip. Based on the foregoing, the Board considers that there is substantial reason to believe that the Representative. Mooney accepted unauthorized gifts.”
The commission also investigated Mooney’s use of a home near Capitol Hill owned by HSP Direct, where the lawmaker stayed free about 20 times between 2015 and 2021, and that Mooney’s wife and children also stayed when visiting Washington. In addition, Mooney and his staff reportedly used “HSP House”, as it was known, to conduct campaigns and official work, and to host events free of charge.
“Given the location of Capitol Hill in the house and the guests who frequent it—specifically HSP clients like Rep. Muni – The house appears to be used for a commercial purpose. As a result of this commercial purpose, Rep. Mooney’s use of the home likely does not qualify for the personal hospitality exception to the gift rule,” the committee wrote in its report.
The report also included interviews with former and current employees of Mooney’s office who said they were frequently asked to complete “informal tasks” for him and his family, also in violation of home gift rules in the form of “unpaid personal favors” from subordinate employees.
“Assignments ranged from babysitting, to car repair work on personal vehicles, to assisting the actor. Mooney and his wife with their personal money and business. Employees were almost never compensated for this work, and were often required to shift time from campaign or official Congressional work to complete these tasks ,” the commission wrote in its report, adding that while some employees volunteered to perform some tasks, employees “more commonly reported feeling pressure to join the Mooney family’s demands or risk angering Representative Mooney and potentially losing their jobs.”