There Is 'Substantial Reason to Believe' That Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Violated House Ethics

The House Ethics Committee will investigate the allegations that McMorris Rodgers used work time, personnel and funds for her 2012 campaign, but not appoint a special panel to do so.

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Washington Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who you might remember as the water-break-free reader of the Republicans' response to the 2014 State of the Union address, is now facing an investigation by the House Ethics Committee over allegations that she used taxpayer funds on her most recent campaign.

In a report released to the public today but dated last December, the Office of Congressional Ethics stated that there is "substantial reason to believe" that McMorris Rodgers used congressional funds, staff and office space for campaign activities, that her campaign consultant performed official duties, and that she "improperly combined congressional resources and campaign resources to produce a mailing and video for her leadership race."

If the allegations are true, the highest-ranking woman in the House would be in violation of the House rules and federal law. The office voted unanimously that the Committee on Ethics review the matter further.

As the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe explains, it is now up to the Ethics Committee to take action, though it is not known if or when this will happen. The good news for McMorris Rodgers is that the Committee has decided not to appoint a special investigative panel to look into her case, but will do so internally. According to Politico, this means "there is little likelihood that McMorris Rodgers will face any charges or sanctions."

McMorris Rodgers denies the allegations, which come from her former spokesman Todd Winer, who said he and several staffers worked on McMorris Rodgers' 2012 campaign during work hours with her knowledge. Winer is now the spokesman for Idaho Rep. Paul Labrador. McMorris Rodgers' lawyer said in his response that Winer apparently did do campaign work during business hours, but that he was the only one and McMorris Rodgers had no knowledge of his actions. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.