Ethics board: ‘Substantial’ belief McMorris Rodgers misused funds
An independent congressional ethics board found “substantial reason” to believe Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the fourth-ranking House Republican, improperly used official funds for campaign activities. The full findings of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) were made public for the first time on Monday by the House Ethics Committee, which is extending its review of the allegations against her. The OCE also found McMorris Rodgers improperly combined taxpayer and campaign resources during her winning campaign to become chairwoman of the House Republican Conference in 2012. But Ethics Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), the top Democrat, declined to impanel an investigative subcommittee on the matter, which emerged out of a complaint to the OCE. Elliot Berke, an attorney for the congresswoman, denied the claims made by her former spokesman, Todd Winer, as well as the OCE’s findings, in a 21-page letter to the leaders of the Ethics Committee that also was released on Monday. Berke characterized Winer as a disgruntled former employee and referred to statements by his colleagues that Winer had become “dark and twisted,” and acted in a manner that left them “concerned for their safety.” The Hill, 3-24-14.