House Ethics Office finds 'substantial reason to believe' four congressmen violated ethics laws
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The House Office of Congressional Ethics released documents Thursday which found “substantial reason to believe” four congressmen, one Democrat and three Republicans, violated ethics laws.
The congressmen in question are Reps. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., Mike Kelly, R-Pa., Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., and Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.
For Hagedorn, the Ethics Committee found that the congressman may have misused funds by hiring two firms linked to two of his staffers, paying the companies unusual amounts of money – as first reported by LegiStorm last June. The report also concluded that he may have violated campaign-finance laws when he allowed a donor to provide free office space, an incident first reported by Politico.
UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 22: Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Regarding Kelly, the committee found that the congressman misused confidential information for personal gain. As reported by Forbes, Kelly’s wife, Virginia, “bought at least $15,000 of shares in Cleveland Cliffs, a steel producer” with the purchase taking place “five days before the Department of Commerce announced an investigation into steel imports that stood to benefit the company.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette previously reported that Kelly advocated for the department’s investigation.
UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 18: Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., walks through the hallway outside of Statuary Hall. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
The Ethics Committee found Malinowski had failed to disclose stock trades within 45 days, which federal law requires. Information provided by the congressman’s office earlier this year revealed the trades took place from January 2019 through January 2021 and totaled over $670,000. Forbes reported that Malinowski “moved at least $1.56 million worth of his holdings into a blind trust” in August.
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 16: Representative Tom Malinowski, (D-NJ), speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on September 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
As for Mooney, the Committee believes the congressman used campaign money to fund personal expenses and failed to report more than $40,000 in expenditures. Forbes also reported that Mooney spent “$3,400 at West Virginia restaurants” and used campaign dollars to cover “expenses for two visits to resorts with family members,” noting that Mooney “repaid his campaign $12,000.” Mooney’s violations were first reported by CQ Roll Call in August.
UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 3: Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., and members of the House Freedom Caucus conduct a news conference to call on Attorney General William Barr to release findings of an investigation into allegations of 2020 election fraud. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
For further review, investigations into the potential violations now shift to the House Committee on Ethics, a 10-member panel with the power to subpoena and sanction House members.
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