Ethics Panel Reviewing Rep. Rob Andrews
The House Ethics Committee revealed late Tuesday that it is reviewing a case involving Rep. Robert Andrews, after the lawmaker's spending practices with his campaign funds have come under scrutiny.
The House Ethics Committee did not disclose the nature of its probe Tuesday, but said the matter was referred to it by the outside Office of Congressional Ethics on April 2. The committee announced it was extending consideration of the matter until Aug. 31.
The committee did not disclose what matter the ethics panel is looking into.
Andrews, a Democrat from New Jersey, has come under scrutiny for his campaign-money spending practices, including billing the campaign $9,000 to attend the wedding of a donor last year in Scotland. He also bought the couple a $450 gift at Bloomingdale's. He later reimbursed the campaign with his personal money.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission after that spending was revealed.
Then in March, the Associated Press reported that Andrews, whose daughter lives in California, had billed his campaign $97,000 in the last five years on at least 18 trips to the state. Andrews' staff said they were fundraising trips.
Andrews occupies a safe Democratic seat. His campaign filings show he has been paying the law firm of Stan Brand, a prominent Washington attorney in ethics cases, since last December. He has paid Brand's firm more than $100,000, including a $66,830 payment on June 29.
Brand has also been the attorney representing Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who has battled with the ethics panel for years.
Andrews, in a written statement, said the ethics case stems from a complaint made by a local GOP official last year.
"These accusations are totally and categorically false. Such attacks on anyone's children and families, who are not public figures, should have no place in our political discourse. None of these accusations involve the use of taxpayer or government money. Our campaign's public disclosures show that every dollar of our campaign funds was properly spent and fully disclosed," he said.
He insisted that "in the course of my service, I have always followed every rule and standard" and expressed confidence he would ultimately be cleared.
"The committee will proceed to address the issues raised by the local Republican party, and this review will demonstrate the falsehood of these politically-motivated accusations," he said.
Updated at 7:20 p.m.