October 29, 2014 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Paul Broun

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Paul Broun (PDF 12MB)

On July 31, 2014, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States of Representatives regarding Rep. Paul Broun.

Nature of Review

From June 2012 to March 2014, Representative Paul Broun retained O’Donnell & Associates, owned and operated by a communications adviser, to provide communications services to his congressional office. Representative Broun’s office paid O’Donnell & Associates $43,750 for services rendered between June 2012 and March 2014. During the exact same period of time, Communications Adviser provided extensive campaign communications and debate consulting services to Representative Broun’s election campaigns.

If Representative Broun used funds from his Members’ Representational Allowance (“MRA”) for an impermissible purpose—to retain an individual as a consultant to his congressional office—then he may have violated House rules and federal law.

If Representative Broun used MRA funds to pay for services provided to one or more of his election campaigns, then he may have violated House rules and federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegation concerning use of the MRA to retain a consultant, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Broun used MRA funds to retain an individual as a consultant to his congressional office, in violation of House rules and federal law.

The Board of the OCE also recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegation concerning use of the MRA for campaign-related services, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Broun used MRA funds to compensate an individual for services provided to one or more of his election campaigns, in violation of House rules and federal law.

Committee Conclusion

On October 29, 2014, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review. The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

October 28, 2014 - OCE Third Quarter 2014 Report

OCE Third Quarter 2014 Report (PDF 69KB)

3Q_2014_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions taken by the Board of the OCE in the third quarter of 2014.

3Q_2014_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics pending release.

September 30, 2014 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Thomas Petri

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Thomas Petri (PDF 5.3MB)

On July 2, 2014, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States of Representatives regarding Rep. Thomas Petri.

Nature of Review

From 2008 to 2013, Representative Thomas Petri and his congressional office performed official actions on behalf of the Oshkosh Corporation, the Manitowoc Company, and the Plum Creek Timber Company. At the time that Representative Petri and his congressional office took these official actions, he or his wife owned stock in each of the companies.

If Representative Petri or his congressional office improperly performed an official act on behalf of a company in which he had a financial interest, then he may have violated House rules and standards of conduct.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Petri improperly performed official acts on behalf of companies in which he had a financial interest, in violation of House rules and standards of conduct.

Committee Conclusion

On September 30, 2014, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review. The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

July 23, 2014 - OCE Second Quarter 2014 Report

OCE Second Quarter 2014 Report (PDF 75KB)

2Q_2014_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions taken by the Board of the OCE in the second quarter of 2014.

1 The OCE considered and voted to refer to the Committee on Ethics one matter in the second quarter, which was finalized and transmitted in the third quarter. This case will be accounted for in the third quarter report.

2Q_2014_Activity Since Inception.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions taken by the Board of the OCE since it began conducting investigations in February 2009.

2 Subjects of five second-phase reviews resigned before the OCE completed its investigations.  Therefore, the Board took no further actions.

2Q_2014_Types.jpg

Above is a graphical explanation of the preliminary reviews the OCE has conducted since it began conducting investigations.

2Q_2014_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics pending release.

June 11, 2014 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Steve Stockman

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Steve Stockman (PDF 16MB)

On March 13, 2014, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Steve Stockman

Nature of Review

In February 2013, Representative Steve Stockman accepted contributions to his congressional campaign committee, Friends of Congressman Steve Stockman, from two employees of his congressional office.  Representative Stockman’s congressional campaign committee subsequently filed Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) reports identifying the contributions made by his congressional employees as having been made by family members of the employees.

In addition, Representative Stockman may have retained these two individuals as full-time employees in his congressional office during a period when those employees were only performing official duties on a part-time basis, and therefore not performing official duties commensurate with the compensation they received.

If Representative Stockman conspired to accept contributions to his congressional campaign committee from individuals who were employed by his congressional office, then he may have violated federal law and House rules.

If Representative Stockman made false statements and endeavored to impede the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) inquiry when he filed Payroll Authorization Forms with the House Office of Payroll and Benefits in December 2013, purporting to document the termination of Mr. Posey and Mr. Dodd from his congressional staff on February 12, 2013, and their re-hiring on February 13, 2013, then he may have violated federal law and House rules.

If Representative Stockman’s campaign committee filed FEC reports falsely identifying the contributions made by his congressional employees as having been made by family members of the employees, then he may have violated federal law and House rules.

If Representative Stockman compensated individuals as full-time employees in his congressional office when those individuals were performing official duties only on a part-time basis, then he may have violated House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning Representative Stockman’s acceptance of campaign contributions from his congressional employees, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Stockman accepted contributions from individuals who were employed by his congressional office at the time the contributions were made, in violation of federal law and House Rules.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning Representative Stockman’s submission of Payroll Authorization Forms, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Stockman made false statements and endeavored to impede the OCE inquiry when he filed those forms with the House Office of Payroll and Benefits in December 2013, purporting to document the termination of Mr. Posey and Mr. Dodd from his congressional staff on February 12, 2013, and their re-hiring on February 13, 2013, in violation of federal law and House rules.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning the reporting to the FEC of the contributions made by Representative Stockman’s congressional employees, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Stockman failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that those contributions were properly reported on his campaign’s FEC reports, in violation of federal law and House rules.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning the compensation of individuals employed in Representative Stockman’s congressional office, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Stockman compensated the congressional office employees on a full-time basis during a period when they were only performing official duties on a part-time basis, in violation of House rules.

Committee Conclusion

On June 11, 2014, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating that it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

May 5, 2014 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Luis Gutierrez

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Luis Gutierrez (PDF 6MB)

On December 4, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

Nature of Review

From 2003 to 2013, Representative Luis Gutierrez retained Doug Scofield, his former chief of staff, to provide certain services to his congressional office.  Pursuant to the agreement, Mr. Scofield, who had opened his own consulting and lobbying firm, was to provide “training” and other “non-legislative” assistance to the congressional office.  Representative Gutierrez’s congressional office paid Mr. Scofield’s firm over $590,000 since 2003 for these services.  Since March 2008, Representative Guteirrez’s congressional office paid Mr. Scofield over $345,000 for these services.

If Representative Gutierrez used funds from his Members’ Representational Allowance (“MRA”) for an impermissible purpose – to retain an individual to provide services to his congressional office that more closely resembled those provided by an employee or consultant, rather than a contractor – then he may have violated House rules and federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Gutierrez used funds from his MRA for an impermissible purpose – to retain an individual to provide services to his congressional office that more closely resembled those provided by an employee or consultant, rather than a contractor – in violation of federal law and House rules.

Committee Conclusion

On May 5, 2014, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating that it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

April 22, 2014 - OCE First Quarter 2014 Report

OCE First Quarter 2014 Report (PDF 36KB)

1Q_2014_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions taken by the Board of the OCE in the first quarter of 2014.

1Q_2014_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters that the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics pending release.

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (PDF 20MB)

On December 23, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Nature of Review

From 2010 to 2012, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers allegedly used official resources, including staff, for campaign activities; paid a consultant for official services with funds from political committees; and combined official resources and campaign resources in furtherance of a campaign for a House leadership office.  

If Representative McMorris Rodgers used official resources for campaign activities, she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

If Representative McMorris Rodgers used funds from political committees to pay for official expenses, she may have violated House rules and federal law.

If Representative McMorris Rodgers improperly combined official resources and campaign resources for particular activities in furtherance of a campaign for a House leadership office, she may have violated House standards of conduct.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegations concerning use of official resources for campaign activities because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative McMorris Rodgers used congressional funds, staff, and office space for campaign activities.

The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning use of political committee funds to pay for official expenses because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative McMorris Rodgers used a campaign consultant to perform official duties.

The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning the campaign for a House leadership office because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative McMorris Rodgers improperly combined congressional resources and campaign resources to produce a mailing and video for her leadership race.

Committee Conclusion

On March 24, 2014, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and finding and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

March 24, 2014 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Markwayne Mullin

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Markwayne Mullin (PDF 3MB)

On December 23, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Markwayne Mullin.

Nature of Review

In 2013, Representative Markwayne Mullin regularly hosted a weekly radio talk show and appeared in numerous radio, television, and internet commercials for Mullin Plumbing, Inc. and affiliated companies. He also served as an officer or board member for the companies. He received income from the companies totaling more than $600,000 in 2013.

If Representative Mullin received more than $26,955 of outside earned income in 2013, he may have violated House rules and federal law.

If Representative Mullin was personally involved in endorsing any services pursuant to outside employment, he may have violated House rules and standards of conduct.

If Representative Mullin served for compensation as an officer or as a member of the board of directors, or both, of one or more of the companies, he may have violated House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegations concerning outside earned income because there is substantial reason to believe that the income Representative Mullin received exceeded the outside earned income limit.
 
The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning Representative Mullin endorsing services because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Mullin appeared in commercials for an outside employer while serving as a Member of Congress.
 
The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning Representative Mullin serving as a compensated officer or board member because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Mullin received compensation for the services he provided as an officer or board member of the companies.
 
Committee Conclusion

On March 24, 2014, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and finding and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

January 30, 2014 - OCE Fourth Quarter 2013 Report

OCE Fourth Quarter 2013 Report (PDF 147KB)

4Q_2013_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions taken by the Board of the OCE in the fourth quarter of 2013.

4Q_2013_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters that the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics pending release.

This date is calculated pursuant to Committee on Ethics Rules authorizing the Committee to postpone any reporting requirement that falls within a 60-day period before an election in which the subject of the referral is a candidate.

October 17, 2013 - OCE Third Quarter 2013 Report

OCE Third Quarter 2013 Report (PDF 130KB)

3Q_2013_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions taken by the Board of the OCE in the third quarter of 2013.

September 11, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Michele Bachmann

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Michele Bachmann (PDF 63MB)

On June 13, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Nature of Review

In July 2010, Representative Michele Bachmann established a leadership PAC and hired political consultant Guy Short to manage the PAC.  In June 2011, Representative Bachmann launched a presidential campaign and retained Mr. Short, through his consulting firm, to work on that campaign.  During the course of the presidential campaign, Mr. Short was compensated by both Representative Bachmann’s leadership PAC and her presidential campaign.  Funds from the leadership PAC may have been used to subsidize her presidential campaign.

After Representative Bachmann launched her presidential campaign, Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson was named as her campaign’s Iowa State Chairman.  Mr. Short and other consultants to Representative Bachmann’s presidential campaign may have arranged to compensate Senator Sorenson for his service to her campaign by directing payments to Senator Sorenson through Mr. Short’s consulting firm.

During Representative Bachmann’s presidential campaign, she engaged in a series of promotional activities for her book Core of Conviction, including a multi-stop book tour organized and paid for by the book’s publisher.  Representative Bachmann may have used funds from her presidential campaign to promote her book, and may have used book promotional activities paid for by the publisher to promote her presidential campaign.

If Representative Michele Bachmann authorized, permitted, or failed to prevent, by not taking reasonable steps to ensure that her leadership PAC operated in compliance with federal campaign finance laws, the use of funds from her leadership PAC to compensate a campaign consultant for work he performed for her presidential campaign, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.

If Representative Bachmann failed to disclose accurately payments to an Iowa State Senator for his services on behalf of her presidential campaign, instead only disclosing payments to a campaign consultant who then conveyed the payments to the State Senator, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.

If Representative Bachmann used campaign resources to promote the sale of her book Core of Conviction, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.

If Representative Bachmann accepted an improper in-kind contribution to her presidential campaign from the publisher of her book by using promotional book activities paid for by the publisher to promote her presidential campaign, then she may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation that Representative Bachmann may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules by using funds from her leadership PAC to support her presidential campaign, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Bachmann authorized, permitted, or failed to prevent, by not taking reasonable steps to ensure that her leadership PAC operated in compliance with federal campaign finance laws, the use of leadership PAC funds to compensate a campaign consultant for work he performed for her presidential campaign, resulting in a contribution from the leadership PAC to the presidential campaign in excess of the legal limit.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics dismiss the allegation that Representative Bachmann may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules by failing to disclose accurately payments to an Iowa State Senator for service as the Iowa state chairman of her presidential campaign, instead only disclosing payments to a campaign consultant who then conveyed the payments to the State Senator, as there is not substantial reason to believe that Representative Bachmann knew that the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) disclosure reports filed by her presidential campaign were false.  Because the evidence before the Board suggests that the FEC disclosure reports filed by the presidential campaign may not have accurately identified the Iowa State Senator as the true recipient of payments made by the presidential campaign, the Board voted to refer the information obtained during the course of its review of this allegation to the FEC.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation that Representative Bachmann may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules by using campaign resources to promote the sale of her book Core of Conviction, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Bachmann used resources from her presidential campaign to promote her book.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation that Representative Bachmann may have violated federal campaign finance laws and House rules by accepting an improper in-kind contribution to her presidential campaign from the publisher of her book, as there is substantial reason to believe that she used promotional book activities paid for by the publisher to promote her presidential campaign.

Committee Conclusion

On September 11, 2013, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

September 11, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Tim Bishop

OCE Referral Regaring Rep. Tim Bishop (PDF 14MB)

On July 13, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Tim Bishop.

Nature of Review

In May 2012, Representative Bishop agreed to assist a constituent in obtaining the necessary approvals for a fireworks event at the constituent’s home.  Representative Bishop communicated personally with public officials with certain oversight in the approval process and also directed his congressional staff to make communications to facilitate the necessary processes to the benefit of the constituent.  Through an intermediary, Representative Bishop then requested a campaign contribution from the constituent.  The request was made in an email after highlighting his performance of official acts, previously conducted.  Representative Bishop continued to perform official acts and authorized requests for contributions.

Representative Bishop’s congressional campaign committee also reported receiving the contribution thirteen days prior to the actual date of the constituent’s contribution.  The report did not disclose the constituent’s company, or the constituent as the sole member of the company, as the source of the contribution.

If Representative Bishop sought a campaign contribution from a constituent because of or in connection with his performance of an official act, then he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

If Representative Bishop did not take reasonable steps to ensure that his congressional campaign committee operated in compliance with federal campaign finance laws, then he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning whether Representative Bishop sought a campaign contribution because of or in connection with an official act, because there is a substantial reason to believe that a violation of House rules, standards of conduct and federal law occurred.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning whether Representative Bishop took reasonable steps to ensure that his congressional campaign committee operated in compliance with federal campaign finance laws, because there is a substantial reason to believe that a violation of House rules, standards of conduct and federal law occurred.

Committee Conclusion

On September 11, 2013, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

September 11, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Peter Roskam

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Peter Roskam (PDF 20MB)

On June 13, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Peter Roskam.

Nature of Review

In October 2011, Representative Peter Roskam and his wife visited Taiwan on an officially connected trip.  According to the travel disclosure forms filed by Representative Roskam, the sponsor of the trip was the Chinese Culture University, an educational institution founded in 1962, located in Taipei, Taiwan.  However, the trip appears to have been organized and conducted by the government of Taiwan, with little to no involvement by the University.

If Representative Peter Roskam accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan from an impermissible source, resulting in an impermissible gift, then he may have violated federal law and House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation, as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Roskam accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan from an impermissible source, resulting in an impermissible gift, in violation of federal law and House rules.

Committee Conclusion

On September 11, 2013, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committe Rule 18(a).

On November 15, 2013, the Committee released a report concluding there was insufficient evidence to find Representative Roskam’s trip was improper.  The Committee noted the sponsor may have been improper, but presently-available evidence was inconclusive.  Because additional information was outside the Committee’s reach, the Committee voted to close the matter.

September 11, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. John Tierney

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. John Tierney (PDF 100MB)

On June 13, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative John Tierney.

Nature of Review

Representative John F. Tierney’s wife managed the daily financial and family obligations of her brother for several years.  In exchange for her assistance, her brother paid her monthly.  From 2007 to 2010, Mrs. Tierney received approximately $40,000 to $160,000 from her brother.  Representative Tierney filed financial disclosure statements from 2008 to 2011 that do not disclose that Mrs. Tierney received earned income from her brother.  Representative Tierney filed his joint federal income tax returns with his wife from 2008 to 2010 that do not include income from her brother.

If Representative Tierney did not include the source of income earned by his spouse from any person that exceeded $1,000 in his financial disclosure statements, he may have violated House rules and federal law.

If Representative Tierney did not include income earned by his spouse in his joint federal income tax returns, he may have violated federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning the financial disclosure statements because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Tierney’s wife earned income from a source that was not disclosed in his financial disclosure statements.

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning the federal income tax returns because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Tierney’s wife received income that he did not include in their joint federal income tax returns.

Committee Conclusion

On September 11, 2013, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it found the presently-available evidence was inconclusive as to whether payments to Mrs. Tierney were income or gifts and does not warrant a finding that Representative Tierney intentionally mischaracterized the nature of they payments for financial disclosure or tax purposes.  The Committee voted to close the matter.

July 26, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Ms. Helen Hardin

OCE Referral Regarding Ms. Helen Hardin (PDF 41MB)

On June 13, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Ms. Helen Hardin.

Nature of Review

Helen Hardin accepted travel expenses for a trip to Turkey in August 2008 that the American-Turkish Coalition and the Turkish Coalition of America (“TCA”) co-sponsored.  TCA retained a lobbyist.  The pre-travel disclosure form that the co-sponsors filed with the House of Representatives certified that TCA did not retain a lobbyist.  Ms. Hardin relied on the co-sponsors’ certification that TCA did not retain a lobbyist and received the travel expenses.

If Ms. Hardin received travel expenses for a multiple-day trip from an entity that retained a lobbyist, she may have violated House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation above because there is a substantial reason to believe that although Ms. Hardin did not knowingly accept, she nevertheless received, an impermissible gift proscribed by House rules.

Committee Conclusion

On July 26, 2013, the Committee released a report finding that TCA was ineligible to sponsor a multi-day trip under the House's privately-sponsored travel rules, but that hardin acted in good faith and had no knowledge that TCA employed or retained a lobbyist.  The Committee therefore voted to dismiss the matter.

July 26, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Walter Gonzales

OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Walter Gonzales (PDF 41MB)

On June 13, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Mr. Walter Gonzales.

Nature of Review

Walter Gonzales accepted travel expenses for a trip to Turkey in August 2008 that the American-Turkish Coalition and the Turkish Coalition of America (“TCA”) co-sponsored.  TCA retained a lobbyist.  The pre-travel disclosure form that the co-sponsors filed with the House of Representatives certified that TCA did not retain a lobbyist.  Mr. Gonzales relied on the co-sponsors’ certification that TCA did not retain a lobbyist and received the travel expenses.

If Mr. Gonzales received travel expenses for a multiple-day trip from an entity that retained a lobbyist, he may have violated House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation above because there is a substantial reason to believe that although Mr. Gonzales did not knowingly accept, he nevertheless received, an impermissible gift proscribed by House rules.

Committee Conclusion

On July 26, 2013, the Committee released a report finding that TCA was ineligible to sponsor a multi-day trip under the House's privately-sponsored travel rules, but that Gonzales acted in good faith and had no knowledge that TCA employed or retained a lobbyist.  The Committee therefore voted to dismiss the matter.

August 29, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Sean O'Brien

OCE Referral Regarding Mr. Sean O'Brien (PDF 42MB)

On June 13, 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Mr. Sean O'Brien.

Nature of Review

Sean O'Brien accepted travel expenses for a trip to Turkey in August 2008 that the American-Turkish Coalition and the Turkish Coalition of America (“TCA”) co-sponsored.  TCA retained a lobbyist.  The pre-travel disclosure form that the co-sponsors filed with the House of Representatives certified that TCA did not retain a lobbyist.  Mr. O'Brien relied on the co-sponsors’ certification that TCA did not retain a lobbyist and received the travel expenses.

If Mr. O'Brien received travel expenses for a multiple-day trip from an entity that retained a lobbyist, he may have violated House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation above because there is a substantial reason to believe that although Mr. O'Brien did not knowingly accept, he nevertheless received, an impermissible gift proscribed by House rules.

Committee Action

On July 26, 2013, the Committee on Ethics referenced this matter and made no additional statement.

Public Disclosure

Pursuant to section 1(f)(1)(B) of H. Res. 895, on August 23, 2013, the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously to release the OCE’s report and findings concerning former House employee Mr. Sean O’Brien, as the Board determined that release was mandated by the Resolution and House rules. 

July 16, 2013 - OCE Second Quarter 2013 Report

OCE Second Quarter 2013 Report (PDF 60KB)

2Q_2013_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions taken by the Board of the OCE in the second quarter of 2013.

2Q_2013_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters that the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics pending release.

April 30, 2013 - OCE First Quarter 2013 Report

OCE First Quarter 2013 Report (PDF 60KB)

1Q_2013_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions of the Board of the OCE in the first quarter of 2013.

February 6, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Bill Owens

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Bill Owens (PDF 2.5MB)

On August 30, 2012, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Bill Owens.

Nature of Review

Representative Owens may have accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan from an impermissible source, resulting in an impermissible gift, in violation of federal law and House rules.

Representative Owens may have accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan, when that trip was in some part planned, organized, requested, or arranged by agents of a foreign principal, in violation of House rules.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the first allegation as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Owens accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan from an impermissible source, resulting in an impermissible gift, in violation of federal law and House rules.

Committee Conclusion

On February 6, 2013, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

 

On November 15, 2013, the Committee released a report finding Representative Owen’s trip was an impermissible gift.  The Committee noted the sponsor may have been improper, but presently-available evidence was inconclusive.  The Committee also found that Park Strategies, LLC did not comply with privately-sponsored travel rules.  Because additional information was outside the Committee’s reach and Representative Owens voluntarily remedied the impermissible gift, the Committee voted to close the matter. 

February 6, 2013 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Aaron Schock

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Aaron Schock (PDF 38MB)

On August 30, 2012, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Aaron Schock.

Nature of Review

In March 2012, Representative Aaron Schock may have solicited contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor, in violation of federal law, House rules, and standards of conduct.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegation because there is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Schock violated federal law, House rules, and standards of conduct.

Committee Conclusion

On February 6, 2013, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review.  The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a).

January 29, 2013 - OCE Fourth Quarter 2012 Report

OCE Fourth Quarter 2012 Report (PDF 63KB)

4Q_2012_Activity.PNG

Above is a statistical summary of the actions of the Board of the OCE in the 112th Congress.

1 Subjects of two additional preliminary reviews resigned and were no longer subject to Board or Committee jurisdiction. Therefore the Board took no further action.

2 Subjects of two additional second-phase reviews resigned before the OCE completed its investigation. Therefore the Board took no further action.

3 The OCE did not investigate new matters in the fourth quarter 2012 as a result of the “blackout period” pursuant to H. Res. 895, 110th Cong. §d(2)(D) as amended.

4Q_2012_Release.PNG

Above is a chart of the matters that the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics pending release.

December 20, 2012 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Shelley Berkley

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Shelley Berkley (PDF 4.6MB)

On February 9, 2012, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Shelley Berkley.

Nature of Review

Representative Shelley Berkley may have violated House rules and precedent regarding conflicts of interest by advocating for the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (“UMC”) kidney transplant program, in an effort to prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) from terminating Medicare approval of that program for failing to meet CMS standards regarding patient survival. At the time Representative Berkley advocated for the UMC program, she had a financial interest in that program through her husband, a partner in Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada, which held the contract to provide nephrology services to UMC.

If Representative Berkley advocated to CMS in order to keep the UMC kidney transplant program open while she had a financial interest in that program through her husband, she may violated House Rule 23 and House precedent regarding conflicts of interest.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the OCE recommended the Committee further review the above allegations as there is a substantial reason to believe that Rep. Berkley advocated to CMS in order to keep the UMC kidney transplant program open while she had a financial interest in that program through her husband, in violation of House Rule 23 and House precedent regarding conflict of interest.

Committee Conclusion

On June 29, 2012, the Committee on Ethics established an investigative subcommittee regarding this matter.

On December 20, 2012, the Committee on Ethics adopted a report from the investigative subcommittee finding that Rep. Berkley had violated House Rules and other laws, rules, and standards of conduct with respect to some, but not all, of the allegations investigated related to her activities on behalf of the kidney transplant center at UMC.

November 28, 2012 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Silvestre Reyes

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Silvestre Reyes (PDF 700KB)

On August 30, 2012, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Silvestre Reyes.

Nature of Review

Representative Silvestre Reyes may have held campaign meetings on House property.  If Representative Reyes solicited or received campaign funds or held meetings that were political in nature while on House property, he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

Representative Reyes may have improperly used campaign funds to pay for certain expenses related to his daughter’s residence.  If Representative Reyes used campaign funds for personal use, he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics further review the above allegation concerning whether Representative Reyes solicited or received campaign funds or held meetings that were political in nature while on House property because there is a substantial reason to believe that a violation of House rules, standards of conduct, or federal law occurred.

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics further review the above allegation concerning whether Representative Reyes improperly used campaign funds to pay for certain expenses related to his daughter’s residence because there is a substantial reason to believe that a violation of House rules, standards of conduct, or federal law occurred.

Committee Conclusion

On November 28, 2012, the Committee on Ethics published the OCE report and findings.

October 31, 2012 - OCE Third Quarter 2012 Report

OCE Third Quarter 2012 Report (PDF 64KB)

3Q_2012_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions of the Board of the OCE in the third Quarter of 2012.

1 Subjects of two additional preliminary reviews that began in the previous quarter resigned and were no longer subject to Board or Committee jurisdiction. Therefore the Board too no further action.

2 Subjects of two additional second-phase reviews resigned before the OCE completed its investigation. Therefore the Board took no further action.

3Q_2012_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters that the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics pending release.

3 This date is calculated pursuant to Committee on Ethics Rules authorizing the Committee to postpone any reporting requirement that falls within a 60-day period before an election, in which the subject of the referral is a candidate.

August 31, 2012 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Robert Andrews

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Robert Andrews (PDF 4.7MB)

On April 2, 2012, The Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Robert Andrews.

Nature of Review

Representative Robert Andrews may have improperly used congressional campaign and Leadership PAC funds to pay for a personal, family trip to Scotland in June 2011. Representative Andrews may have also improperly used congressional campaign funds to pay for various trips to Los Angeles in 2011 and for his daughter's graduation party in June 2011, among other potential personal uses.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations concerning Representative Andrews because there is a substantial reason to believe that he improperly used congressional campaign and Leadership PAC funds for personal use, in violation of House rules and federal law.

Committee Conclusion

On August 31, 2012, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review. The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to the Committee Rule 18(a).

On March 19, 2013, the Committee on Ethics announced that it had voted to establish an Investigative Subcommittee in this matter.

July 26, 2012 - OCE Second Quarter 2012 Report

OCE Second Quarter 2012 Report (PDF 61KB)

2Q_2012_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions of the Board of the OCE in the second quarter of 2012.

2Q_2012_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics that have not yet but must be made public.

May 9, 2012 - OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Vern Buchanan

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Vern Buchanan (PDF 4.4MB)

On February 9, 2012, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Vern Buchanan.

Nature of Review

Representative Vern Buchanan's former business partner claims that Representative Buchanan made a $2.9 million lawsuit settlement agreement contingent on the business partner signing a false affidavit to be filed with the Federal Election Commission ("FEC"). The affidavit was related to allegations that individuals who contributed to Vern Buchanan for Congress received reimbursements from automobile dealerships owned by Representative Buchanan.

If Representative Buchanan attempted to influence the testimony of a witness in a preceeding before the FEC in the manner alleged, he may have violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 201, 1505, and 1512, and House Rule 23, clause 1.

OCE Recommendation

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Buchanan attempted to influence the testimony of a witness in a proceeding before the FEC in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 201, 1505, and 1512, and House Rule 23, clause 1.

Committee Conclusion

On May 9, 2012, the Committee on Ethics released a statement indicating it would continue to gather information necessary to complete its review. The Committee published the OCE report and findings and announced the allegations would be further reviewed pursuant to the Committee Rule 18(a).

 

OCE Response to March 8, 2012, Letter from Patton Boggs LLP (PDF 550KB)

April 17, 2012 - OCE First Quarter 2012 Report

OCE First Quarter 2012 Report (PDF 61KB)

1Q_2012_Activity.jpg

Above is a statistical summary of the actions of the Board of the OCE in the first quarter of 2012.

1. The OCE Board considered and voted to refer to the Committee on Ethics three matters in the first quarter, which were finalized and transmitted in the second quarter. These cases will be accounted for in the second quarter report.

1Q_2012_Release.jpg

Above is a chart of the matters the OCE has referred to the Committee on Ethics that have not yet but must become public.

2. Pursuant to Committee Rules, the Committee may postpone any reporting requirement that falls within a 60-day period until after the date of the election in which the subject of the referral is a candidate.

Last Updated Wednesday, October 29, 2014