OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Laura Richardson
On August 6, 2009, the OCE transmitted a referral to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Laura Richardson.
Nature of Review
On May 7, 2008, Representative Laura Richardson’s Sacramento home was sold into foreclosure. On May 29, 2008, Washington Mutual, Representative Richardson’s lender, rescinded the foreclosure sale. Immediately following the rescission, James York, the individual who had purchased the home and had begun making improvements to it, publicly accused the Congresswoman of receiving preferential treatment from her lender. Further, Representative Richardson did not disclose her mortgage liability on her 2007 financial disclosure form filed in May 2008, or in two subsequent amendments filed to her financial disclosure form in June 2008.
In the course of its review, the OCE learned that neighbors of Representative Richardson provided professional yard-care services to the Representative’s Sacramento property for which they were not reimbursed.
Representative Richardson's conduct may have violated gift and financial disclosure rules.
The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct further review the allegation that Representative Richardson violated House Rule 25, clause 5 (gifts) by knowingly receiving preferential treatment from Washington Mutual Bank.
The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee dismiss the allegations that Representative Richardson violated House Rule 26 (financial disclosure) by failing to disclose her Sacramento home as an asset and her mortgage liability on her 2007 financial disclosure form filed in May 2008, or in subsequent amendments to her financial disclosure form filed in June 2008.
The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee dismiss the allegation concerning Representative Richardson's receipt of professional services from her neighbors because if a violation occurred it would be de minimis.
On October 29, 2009, the Standards Committee established an Investigative Subcommittee regarding this matter.
On June 30, 2010, the Standards Committee dismissed the matter and adopted a report.