House Ethics Panel Won't Act Against Seven Lawmakers After Funding Probe

The House Ethics Committee decided to take no action against seven lawmakers who raised campaign money as a congressional vote neared on legislation to overhaul regulation of the financial industry.

The House members were Democrats Joseph Crowley of New York and Melvin Watt of North Carolina and Republicans Tom Price of Georgia, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, John Campbell of California and Christopher Lee of New York.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics had looked at financial industry donations before the vote and recommended that the ethics committee investigate Crowley, Campbell and Price.

“Each member’s fundraising activities raised no appearances of impropriety,” according to a 616-page staff report that accompanied today’s ethics committee’s announcement. “Nor did they violate any law or other applicable standards of conduct in connection with their fundraising activities.”

Crowley sat on the House Ways and Means Committee; the other six were members of the House Financial Services panel. The Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based watchdog group, posted fundraising invitations from all of the lawmakers but Hensarling during the days before the Dec. 11, 2009, House vote.

The chamber passed the legislation 223-202, with Crowley and Watt voting for it and the five Republicans voting no.

An eighth House member initially named by the ethics office, Democrat Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, lost his re- election bid in November.

The bill imposing the most sweeping regulations on Wall Street since the Great Depression cleared Congress in July and was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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