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OCE Referral Regarding Ms. Helen Hardin

Jul 26, 2013

OCE Referral Regarding Ms. Helen Hardin

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.