OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Luis Gutierrez
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.
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.
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).