Congress

Ethics Committee still reviewing Schweikert allegations, releases initial OCE referral

Arizona Republican and former chief of staff allegedly misused office resources and broke campaign committee rules

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., is still under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegations that he misused office resources and violated campaign committee rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee is continuing an investigation into allegations that Rep. David Schweikert and his former chief of staff misused office resources and violated campaign committee rules, as the panel on Wednesday released the initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics board unanimously recommending it review the matter.

OCE’s six-member board voted unanimously on April 5, 2018 to refer the allegations involving the Arizona Republican to the House Ethics Committee, which opened an investigation in May.

The board found “substantial reason” to believe Schweikert authorized Members’ Representational Allowance, or MRA, expenditures that his former chief of staff Oliver Schwab made outside of the scope of permissible official expenses and that he failed to ensure his campaign committee followed the rules in accepting contributions from one of his congressional office employees in the form of individual outlays that later were reimbursed.

The Ethics Committee is required in cases where it has not completed its review within a year to release the OCE report referring the matter to the committee. The panel did so on Wednesday, saying it received OCE’s referral on April 16 of last year.

OCE submitted a second referral to the committee regarding Schweikert last September, and the panel announced in December that it was expanding the scope of its inquiry

Additional allegations the committee is reviewing include that Schweikert:

  • may have used official resources to benefit his campaign;
  • omitted required information from his annual House financial disclosure statements and Federal Election Commission candidate committee reports;
  • pressured congressional staff to perform political activities;
  • “authorized compensation to an employee who did not perform duties commensurate with his House employment,” which is what the committee has used to refer to off-the-books settlements settlements in the past;
  • received loans or gifts from a congressional employee.

— Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.

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