On May 18, 2016, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Mark Meadows.
Nature of the Review
After a series of personnel issues in October 2014, Representative Meadows’ Chief of Staff, Kenny West was not present in either Representative Meadows’ district or Washington, DC offices. In April 2015, Representative Meadows informed his staff that Mr. West was no longer Chief of Staff and made representations that he was no longer an employee of the office. Mr. West did not appear to perform any official work after April 2015, yet Representative Meadows continued to authorize compensation to Kenny West until August 15, 2015.
If Representative Meadows retained an employee who did not perform duties commensurate with the compensation the employee received, and certified that the compensation met applicable House standards, then he may have violated House rules and standards of conduct.
The Board recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegations because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Meadows retained an employee who did not perform duties commensurate with the compensation the employee received, and certified that the compensation met applicable House standards, in violation of House rules and standards of conduct.
On August 17, 2016, 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 November 16, 2018, the Committee on Ethics released a report concluding that Representative Meadows’ actions related to Mr. West’s harassment and his payments to Mr. West when he was Senior Advisor as a “severance” violated House Rules. The Committee concludes Representative Meadows could have and should have done more to ensure that his congressional office was free from discrimination or the perception of discrimination. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the Committee decided to reprove Representative Meadows for his conduct in this matter. The Committee additionally concluded that Representative Meadows must reimburse the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $40,625.02 for Mr. West’s salary that was not commensurate with his work.
Additionally, the Committee cautions the entire House community to be sensitive to the potential for sexual harassment and discrimination.