On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee released a damning report on a multi-year investigation into former House Republican Conference chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the highest-ranking GOP woman in the House.
The investigation, which began in 2013, explored allegations that Rodgers has been improperly mingling taxpayer funds for her congressional office with campaign funds for her re-election. Specifically, Rodgers allegedly “paid a consultant for official services with funds from political committees; used official resources, including staff, for campaign activities; and combined official resources and campaign resources in furtherance of her campaign for a House leadership office.”
“The extensive record compiled by the Committee in this matter demonstrates that the offices of Representative Rodgers frequently exhibited an indifference to the laws, rules and
regulations relating to the use of official and unofficial resources,” stated the report. “This indifference led to myriad instances of resources being used inappropriately. While in some of those instances, the misuse appeared to be a minor deviation from expected conduct, at other times the impropriety was more severe. Taken as a whole, the abuses reviewed by the Committee add up to a concerning pattern over the course of more than five years.
The Committee did not find any evidence that Rodgers forced her legislative staff to engage in campaign work, which would be an even more serious offense. But the report found numerous instances in which they willingly did so, including distributing internal office materials to the campaign, printing campaign documents in congressional offices, filming campaign advertisements on congressional time, and driving her to political campaign events, all of which pose serious ethical problems.
The report concluded that Rodgers “must reimburse the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $7,575.95 for the misuse of official resources.”
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