House Votes to Formally Sanction GOP Rep. David Schweikert for Ethics Violations
The House of Representatives on Friday voted to formally sanction Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) for 11 ethics rule violations. The House vote backs a bipartisan Ethics Committee report (pdf) that recommends a sanction of reprimand and a $50,000 fine that must be paid to the U.S. Treasury by the end of October.
The report is a result of an investigation that concluded that there was “substantial reason” to believe that Schweikert had failed to ensure that his campaign committees complied with campaign finance laws, authorized the misuse of his Members’ Representational Allowance for unofficial purposes, pressured official staff to do campaign work, and showed a “lack of candor and due diligence” during the investigation.
Chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), in calling for Schweikert to be reprimanded by the House on Friday, said on the chamber floor, “One of our most basic obligations as members of Congress is to adhere to the principle that public office is a public trust.”
“To uphold that trust and to maintain civic confidence in the integrity of this body, we as members have bound ourselves by certain standards of official conduct,” Deutch continued.
Schweikert on Thursday admitted to the violations and agreed to pay the fine. In June, he responded to the House Committee in a letter (pdf), saying that while he believed he could refute allegations in its draft report against him, he decided to seek a settlement instead “for a variety of reasons.”
“I believe there are a number of assertions, findings, and unfounded speculative statements in the Report and its accompanying Statement of Alleged Violations (“SAV”) that would be proven false or misleading if subjected to the scrutiny of a full adjudicatory process,” he wrote in his response. “I have resolved to seek a settlement, in lieu of pursuing a protracted adjudicatory process, for a variety of reasons.”
He later added, “Although the adjudicatory process would provide me an opportunity to challenge aspects of the Report and SAV I believe to be misleading, inaccurate, or unfair, it would require financial resources that I do not have and would significantly delay closure for me and my family.”