August 2011 Archives

August 5, 2011 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Meeks

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Meeks (PDF 4.2MB)

On May 18, 2011, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Gregory Meeks.

Nature of Review

In 2007, Representative Gregory Meeks received $40,000 from a personal freinds, Edul Ahmad. In 2010, Representative Meeks received a $59,650 home equity loan from Four M Investments, LLC.

If Representative Meeks accepted a home equity loan from an individual without prior approval from the Committee on Ethics (formerly Committee on Standards of Official Conduct) or from a commerical institution on terms not available to the general public, he may have violated House rules and standards of conduct.

During the course of its review, the Office of Congressional Ethics learned that the $40,000 Representative Meeks received from Edul Ahmad appeared to lack the normal indicia, including a set interest rate or repayment terms, of a legitimate loan. Therefore, this $40,000 transferred to Representative Meeks in 2007 appears to have been a gift. Representative meeks did not disclose the $40,000 amount as a gift on his Calendar Year 2007 United States House of Representatives Financial Disclosure Statement (filed in May 2008), his Calendar Year 2008 Amended Financial Disclosure Statement (filed in 2009), or his Calendar Year 2009 Amended Financial Disclosure Statement (filed in 2010).

If Representative Meeks failed to properly disclose the $40,000 as a gift on his Calendar Year 2007, 2008, and 2009 Financial Disclosure Statements, he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations because there is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Meeks failed to properly disclose the $40,000 as a gift on his 2007, 2008, and 2009 Financial Disclosure Statements in violation of House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

Committee Conclusion

On August 5, 2011, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it had accepted the recommendations of the OCE to dismiss allegations regarding the 2010 loan and further review the allegations regarding the 2007 loan. The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations regarding the 2010 loan would be further reviewed pursuant to the Committee's Rule 18(a).

On December 20, 2012, the Committee on Ethics released a report finding Rep. Meeks had failed to disclose the Ahmad loan on his 2007, 2008, and 2009 Financial Disclosure Statements. The Committee found no credible evidence that the errors were knowing or willful. The Committee decided to close its investigation regarding this matter.

August 5, 2011 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Schmidt

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Schmidt (PDF 13MB)

On May 18, 2011, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Jean Schmidt.

Nature of Review

Representative Jean Schmidt may have received free legal services that are considered gifts under House rules. Since 2008, three lawyers for the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund ("TALDF") have represented her in various legal matters related to a complaint that she filed with the Ohio Election Commission against Mr. David Krikorian, a challenger to her congressional seat.

The Turkish Coalition of America ("TCA") has paid the TALDF lawyers a total of approximately $500,000 for the legal services provided to Representative Schmidt during the past three years. TCA currently pays the lawyers to represent her in an ongoing defamation suit that she filed against Mr. Krikorian in Ohio state court. Representative Schmidt has not paid for any of the legal services.

If Representative Schmidt accepted free legal services without establishing a legal expense fund, she may have violated House rules. She also may have violated House rules and federal law by not including the free legal service as gifts on her financial disclosure statements.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Schmidt: (1) accepted legal services from TALDF without establishing a legal expense fund; and (2) failed to report the legal services on her financial disclosure statements for calendar years 2008 and 2009.

Committee Conclusion

On August 5, 2011, the Committee released a report in which it determined that Representative Schmidt had received an impermissible gift from TCA. The Committee found that Representative Schmidt did not know she was receiving a gift from TCA, and that no sanction was appropriate. The Committee stated that Representative Schmidt must now disclose and repay the gift.

August 5, 2011 - OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Hill

OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Hill (PDF 4.5MB)

On May 18, 2011, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Mr. Gregory Hill.

Nature of Review

Gregory Hill, chief of staff for Representative Michael McCaul, disclosed outside earned income of $26,500 on his Calendar Year 2009 Financial Disclosure Statement from Representative Michael McCaul's campaign committee, McCaul for Congress, Inc. Mr. Hill was considered 'senior staff' in 2009 and subject to the outside earned income limit of $26,550. However, Mr. Hill received $32,000 from McCaul for Congress Inc., $5,450 over the 2009 limit. In February 2011, Mr. Hill paid back $4,831.45 to McCaul for Congress Inc.

If Mr. Hill received more than $26,550 of outside earned income from McCaul for Congress Inc. in 2009, he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations because there is a substantial reason to believe that in 2009, Greg Hill received more than $26,550 of earned outside income from McCaul for Congress, Inc., in violation of House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

Committee Conclusion

On August 5, 2011, the Committee released a report in which it determined that Mr. Hill received outside income in 2009 that exceeded the outside earned income limit. The report stated that Mr. Hill had taken satisfactory steps to repay the excess amount and report it on his Financial Disclosure Statement for 2009. The Committee found that no further action was necessary and considered the matter closed.

August 5, 2011 - OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Collins

OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Collins (PDF 8.2MB)

On May 18, 2011, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Mr. Michael Collins.

Nature of Review

Michael Collins, Chief of Staff for Representative John Lewis, is employed as a consultant with the John Lewis for Congress campaign committee. From 2007 to 2009, the campaign committee reported paying Mr. Collins consulting fees totaling $42,000. On June 16, 2008, Mr. Collins filed his calendar year 2007 financial disclosure statement and did not report income earned from the campaign committee. Mr. Collins filed his financial disclosure for calendar years 2008 and 2009 without reporting the income earned from the campaign committee. The consulting fees earned in 2009 were not disclosed on his federal income tax return.

Mr. Collins was subject to the 2009 outside earned income limit of $26,550. The campaign committee reported paying Mr. Collins $27,000 in 2009.

If Mr. Collins received income from the campaign committee and failed to disclose the earned income on his financial disclosure statements and federal income tax returns, he may have violated House rules and federal law. Also, if Mr. Collins received more than $26,550 of earned income in 2009, he may have violated House rules and federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations because there is a substantial reason to believe that Michael Collins violated House rules and federal law by exceeding the outside earned income limit and failing to report the income on his financial disclosure statements and federal income tax returns.

Committee Conclusion

On August 5, 2011, the Committee released a report and issued a letter of reproval to Mr. Collins. The Committee determined that Mr. Collins violated House rules, laws, and regulations, or other standards of conduct by failing to report outside earned income he had received from 2005 through 2010 on his financial disclosure statements and his federal income taxes for each year. For his violation, Mr. Collins agreed to accept a series of sanctions and remedies offered by the Committee.

Last Updated Monday, March 24, 2014