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.
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.
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.