On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Trump-backed West Virginia Congressman Alex Mooney faces a litany of ethics complaints from his former staffers, from improper use of government resources to the illegal acceptance of gifts.
"On Monday, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a lengthy report that found 'substantial reason' to believe Mooney had committed a number of ethical violations while in office — potentially even violations of federal law," reported Sam Brodey. "Among other things, Mooney may have 'accepted a free or below-market-value trip to Aruba,' used taxpayer dollars for non-approved purposes, and used staff for campaign work and 'personal errands,' according to OCE. On top of that, he may have 'withheld, concealed, or falsified' information provided to ethics officials in the course of the investigation."
"Several Mooney staffers said they were required to do a variety of basic and complicated tasks for the family instead of — or in addition to — their official duties, including babysitting Mooney’s children, driving them to and from school, taking care of their dog, and chauffeuring the congressman long distances for personal reasons," said the report. "One former staffer said they drove Mooney over 250 miles in one afternoon, taking him from Washington to Richmond, Virginia, for his son’s basketball game, then back to West Virginia. Another staffer drove from their home in northern Virginia to Charles Town, West Virginia, to walk the Mooneys’ dog, Skipper, while the family was away."
All of this would be against ethics laws, which requires staffers only be used for "legitimate, official activity" and that any personal activity they do should be reimbursed to the U.S. Treasury.
"The OCE even managed to take a passing shot at Mooney, who's long faced accusations that he's not a true West Virginian. The OCE noted that Mooney's staff worked to have his wife's inactive medical license in Maryland activated in West Virginia," said the report. "'Because Rep. Mooney was not from West Virginia and had not lived in the state prior to his 2014 bid for his congressional seat,' the OCE report said, 'Dr. Mooney was not licensed to practice medicine in the state.'"
Mooney won a bitterly contested primary for a West Virginia congressional district earlier this year against fellow sitting Congressman David McKinley, after the Census eliminated a seat from the state and drew them into the same district. He was carried to victory in part by an endorsement from the former president.