Matt York / AP
The Chamber unanimously passed a rare ethical resolution Friday morning to rebuke the rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., For breaking congressional and campaign funding rules.
Schweikert agreed to pay a $ 50,000 fine and pleaded guilty to 11 ethical violations, including misuse of official funds.
The House Ethics Committee had been investigating Schweikert, who was elected in 2010, for more than two years. His investigative subcommittee concluded that there were “substantial reasons” to believe that Schweikert violated the government’s code of ethics, campaign finance laws, and House rules.
Home investigators concluded that over a seven-year period, Schweikert failed to disclose, or falsely disclose, $ 305,000 in loans or loan repayments, and failed to report more than $ 140,000 in campaign contributions.
A 13-page report detailing the committee’s investigation and findings tells of Schweikert’s campaign receiving over $ 270,000 from his then-boss Richard Schwab, which is a violation of campaign finance laws.
A statement issued Thursday by the Ethics Committee also said Schweikert had abused his congressional permission for “unofficial purposes” and had pressured “official staff to carry out the campaign work.”
The findings say Schweikert made “vague or misleading comments” that “allowed him to circumvent the statute of limitations for the most egregious violations of campaign finance laws.”
The report continues: “Efforts such as those made by Rep. Schweikert to delay and impede [investigative subcommittee] the investigations were not only very detrimental to the work of the committee and the reputation of the Chamber, but they themselves were unreasonably predictable conduct. “
Rep. Blamed for breach of trust
Speaking before the House on Friday morning, the Chairman of the Rep. Ted Deutch Ethics Committee, D-Fla., Highlighted the consequence of the breach of public confidence.
“One of our most fundamental obligations as members of Congress is to adhere to the principle that the public office is a public trust. To uphold that trust, and to maintain civic trust in the integrity of this body, we as members are associated with several standards of official conduct, “he said.
Deutch went on to encourage congressmen and staff to turn to the committee if they have ethical questions “to avoid mistakes like those made by Rep. Schweikert.”
“The non-partisan advisory staff of the committee is always available to answer any questions related to ethics, conduct special training sessions for members and employees in addition to the mandated annual ethics trainings and issue advisory opinions upon request,” he said.
Schweikert submitted a response to the committee saying that while he thought he could refute some claims, he decided to settle because the process “was time consuming and very costly”.
The House reprimand is a big blow to Schweikert, who faces a tough race in Arizona Round 6, which includes Phoenix and Scottsdale.
The four Democrats will face off in an Aug. 4 primary.
Schweikert’s senior Democratic opponent, Dr Hiral Tipirneni, said Schweikert had “abused his power and betrayed public confidence”.
As reported by Steve Goldstein, the NPR member station of the SEC, Schweikert was already expected to face a strong challenge, in part because the electorate wants to see increased action in combating racial injustice.