Matt York / AP
The House unanimously passed an infrequent ethical resolution Friday morning to crack down on Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., For violating congressional funding rules and campaigns.
Schweikert agreed to pay a $ 50,000 fine and admitted 11 ethical violations including misuse of official funds.
The House Ethics Committee took more than two years to investigate Schweikert, elected in 2010. Its research subcommittee concluded that there were “substantial reasons” to believe that Schweikert violated the government’s code of ethics, the laws of campaign finance and House rules.
House investigators concluded that for a seven-year period, Schweikert did not disclose or falsely disclose $ 305,000 in loans or loan repayments and did not report more than $ 140,000 in campaign contributions.
A 13-page report detailing the committee’s investigation and findings points to Schweikert’s campaign accepting more than $ 270,000 from his then chief of staff, Richard Schwab, for violating the campaign’s finance laws.
A statement issued Thursday by the Ethics Committee also said Schweikert had misused his congressional provision for “unofficial” purposes and pressured “official staff to carry out campaign work.”
The findings say Schweikert made “vague or misleading comments” that “allowed him to evade the statue of limitations by the most serious violations of campaign finance laws.”
The report continued: “Efforts such as those that representative Schweikert undertook to delay and prevent [investigative subcommittee] the investigation was not only very detrimental to the work and reputation of the committee in the House, but they led to punitive misconduct. “
Receive has defaulted for breach of trust
On Friday morning in the House, Ethics Commission Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Highlighted the consequence of breaking public confidence.
“One of our most basic obligations as members of Congress is to comply with the principle that public office is a public trust. To maintain that trust and maintain civic trust in the integrity of that body, we, as members, must we have certainly committed to official standards of conduct, “he said.
Deutch continued to encourage members of Congress and staff to approach the committee if they have ethical questions to “avoid mistakes like those made by Representative Schweikert.”
“The non-partisan advisory staff of the committee is always available to answer any questions related to ethics, to conduct special training sessions for members and employees, in addition to the required annual ethics training and to issue opinions counseling on request, ”he said.
Schweikert presented a response to the committee saying that while he thought he could refute some allegations, he decided to settle because the process “cost a lot of time and was very costly.”
House’s reprimand is a major blow to Schweikert, who faces a tough race in Arizona’s competitive 6th district, which spans Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Four Democrats will face off in the August 4 primaries.
Hiral Tipirneni, Schweikert’s top Democratic opponent, said Schweikert had “abused his power and betrayed public confidence.”
As Steve Goldstein reports from NPR member station KJZZ, Schweikert was already expected to face an intense challenge, in part because the electorate wants to take action against racial injustice.