Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) used campaign funds to pay for a trip to England late last year, according to an ethics watchdog.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint after Gohmert’s campaign listed expenses for a trip to London in November and December.
The lawmaker’s campaign reported that it spent $5,451.39 at the five-star Andaz Liverpool Street hotel, $396.12 at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford, and $234.54 for a taxi ride in Cambridgeshire.
Gohmert held speaking engagements while in England with the Cambridge Union Society, the Rothermere American Institute, the Federalist and Henry Jackson Societies, and a joint group from the U.K. House of Lords and House of Commons.
None of those events were related to campaign activities, CREW said in its complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics.
“Rep. Gohmert’s legendary tirades may put him in high demand for public speaking engagements, but that doesn’t give him license to bill a luxury London vacation to his campaign,” said Anne Weismann, CREW’s interim executive director. “The congressman can’t credibly claim that speeches made to those who can’t vote for him served the purpose of getting him reelected.”
According to House rules, campaign funds cannot be used for travel expenses unless the primary purpose of the trip is for campaigning.
CREW compared Gohmert’s alleged violation to a trip made by former Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), who charged $13,000 to his campaign for a family trip to Scotland to attend a donor’s wedding.
“The Ethics Committee may have let Rep. Andrews get away, but it shouldn’t do the same with Rep. Gohmert. Until members face real consequences for treating their campaign accounts like personal piggybanks, these violations will continue,” Weismann said.