OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Paul Broun

OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Paul Broun

On July 31, 2014, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House 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).

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