Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeWorldHouse ethics panel reviews 2 GOP lawmakers’ campaign payments to private social...

House ethics panel reviews 2 GOP lawmakers’ campaign payments to private social clubs

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee said Monday it was investigating allegations that two Republican congressmen from Texas violated ethics rules by using campaign funds to pay membership fees at private social clubs.

The bipartisan panel released findings that Rep. Ronny Jackson’s campaign committee paid more than $6,800 in membership fees to The Amarillo Club, a fine dining club and gym in downtown Amarillo. And the ethics committee also released a report on a separate investigation that found that Rep. Wesley Hunt’s campaign paid more than $5,400 in dues to The Oak Room, a private dining club in Houston.

The Ethics Commission said it will look further into the payments, but that does not mean there have been proven violations of ethics rules.

A spokeswoman for Jackson said the investigation was based on a previous complaint from two years ago, that no new information had been brought forward and that his office had complied with the commission.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, which conducted the investigations, said neither lawmaker agreed to cooperate with the reviews. The independent, nonpartisan agency is tasked with reviewing allegations against members and other staff of the House of Representatives and referring issues it finds to the House Ethics Committee, which is made up of lawmakers.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that leftists at OCE (Office of Congressional Ethics) have decided to waste taxpayer dollars by going after public officials for nothing,” Jackson’s office said in a statement.

Attorneys for Hunt said in a response to the Ethics Commission that the congressman had not used the membership for personal use, but instead to meet with campaign donors and advisers. Hunt believed that membership in the Post Oak Club, which provides access to a meeting room, “would be a wiser use of campaign funds” than a campaign office, his lawyers said.

READ ALSO  Four people shot at downtown Atlanta food court, mayor says

This isn’t Jackson’s first time under scrutiny. Before being elected to the House in 2020, he was a top White House doctor under former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump and became known for his comments on Trump’s health.

Trump nominated him as secretary of Veterans Affairs, but withdrew his nomination amid allegations of professional misconduct. A internal investigation at the Ministry of Defense later concluded that Jackson made “sexual and derogatory” comments about a female subordinate, violated a policy against drinking alcohol during a presidential trip and used prescription sleeping medications that raised concerns among his colleagues about his ability to receive proper medical care grant.

Jackson has denied these allegations, describing them as politically motivated.

In the case before the Ethics Commission, Jackson’s campaign had paid monthly contributions of about $175 to The Amarillo Club since 2021. Beginning in April of last year, the campaign disclosed the monthly payments as “membership for exclusive campaign purposes,” according to the committee report. .

The social club, which also has a gym and gives members access to affiliated clubs across the country, says on its website that its “members have created lasting bonds and a network of connections.”

The House of Representatives ethics manual instructs lawmakers not to use campaign funds for personal use, including to improve their lifestyle or pay for personal obligations. However, it gives them broad discretion in determining what counts as a campaign or political expenditure.



- Advertisment -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -