A House investigative panel will spend the next six weeks scrutinizing four House lawmakers accused of ethics violations, including Representative Michele Bachmann and a member of the Republican leadership.
Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican, has been accused of financial impropriety in her 2012 presidential campaign, according to a report in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune. Two months ago, Bachmann’s congressional campaign committee agreed to pay an $8,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission for failing to disclose more than $400,000 in receipts and expenditures.
Bachmann announced earlier this year that she won’t run for re-election in 2014.
Dan Kotman, a spokesman for Bachmann, directed questions to Washington-based attorney Bill McGinley. In an e-mail, he rejected the allegations as “highly politicized” and expressed confidence the ethics panel’s inquiry would show them to be “baseless and without merit.”
The House Ethics Committee announced yesterday that it needed another 45 days to evaluate her case, along with others targeting Illinois Representative Peter Roskam, the chief deputy Republican whip, and two Democrats: John Tierney of Massachusetts and Tim Bishop of New York.
The committee’s investigation of Roskam, the chamber’s fourth-ranking Republican, centers on claims that an October 2011 trip he took with his wife to Taiwan was improperly funded by the Taiwanese government, Politico reported on its website.
Roskam’s communications director, Stephanie Genco, said yesterday that the congressman “fully complied with all laws, rules, and procedures related to privately sponsored travel” and that he “fully expects the clear and indisputable facts of the case to speak for themselves.”
“The trip was vetted and approved by the House Ethics Committee, the body legally authorized to make determinations on Congressional conduct,” Genco said in a statement.
Bishop was the focus of complaints from his political opponent, who questioned whether the incumbent improperly helped obtain fireworks permits for a campaign contributor. The Ethics Committee is investigating those allegations, said a Democratic staff member who asked not to be identified because details weren’t released.
“As I have said many times, I welcome a fair-minded review of the facts because I have done nothing wrong,” Bishop said in a statement.
Tierney faced questions during his 2012 race about money his wife received from her brother, Robert Eremian, who ran an illegal gambling business. A statement from Tierney about the ethics investigation said his wife’s brother gave her the money as a gift “for caring for their dying mother and his three children who were without parental supervision.”
“I welcome the opportunity to finally put this issue to rest after years of my opponents attacking me and my family,” Tierney said in the statement.