OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Ed Whitfield
On June 10, 2014, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Ed Whitfield.
Nature of Review
From 2011 to 2014, Representative Ed Whitfield’s wife, who is a registered lobbyist, lobbied on numerous bills, including bills that Representative Whitfield sponsored or co-sponsored. Representative Whitfield’s wife contacted his congressional staff in connection with her lobbying efforts. Representative Whitfield and his wife held joint meetings with other congressional offices related to legislation she lobbied.
If Representative Whitfield permitted his wife to lobby him or his congressional staff, then he may have violated House rules and standards of conduct.
If Representative Whitfield granted special favors or privileges to his wife, in her capacity as a lobbyist, and to her employer, then he may have violated House rules and standards of conduct.
OCE Recommendation The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegation concerning the lobbying contacts of Representative Whitfield’s wife because there is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Whitfield had lobbying contacts with his wife and permitted his wife to have lobbying contacts with his staff in violation of House rules and standards of conduct.
The Board of the OCE also recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegations concerning the granting of special favors or privileges because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Whitfield permitted his wife to use his congressional office to advance and facilitate her lobbying activities and the lobbying activities of her employer in violation of House rules and standards of conduct.
Committee Conclusion On November 10, 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).
On July 14, 2016, the Committee on Ethics adopted a report from the investigative subcommittee finding that Rep. Whitfield violated House Rules and standard of conduct by allowing his wife, a registered lobbyist, to contact his staff. The Committee on Ethics stated the subcommittee's report would serve as a reproval to Rep. Whitfield.