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House Reprimands Richardson

The House on Thursday voted to accept the Ethics Committee's finding that Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., engaged in misconduct in forcing some of her staff to work on her 2010 campaign, essentially serving as an official reprimand.
 
A reprimand by a House members' peers is a less-harsh punishment for misconduct than two other options: outright expulsion, or censure, in which a member is required to stand in the well of the House to receive a verbal rebuke from the Speaker.
 
Richardson also will be required to pay a fine of $10,000 by Dec. 1.

(RELATED: List of Past Representatives Punished)
 
The action, approved by voice vote, complicates Richardson's already difficult reelection bid, against another sitting Democratic member of Congress. She and Rep. Janice Hahn were thrown into the same district thanks to redistricting, and will face one another in November run-off.
 
Richardson has already agreed in negotiations with the panel to admit to all seven counts contained in a "Statement of Alleged Violation" leveled by an investigative subcommittee of their panel, and waived all further procedural rights.

Richardson also was found to have tried to obstruct the ethics investigation through the "alteration or destruction of evidence, (and) deliberate failure to produce documents to requests for information and subpoena."

"I acknowledge the statement of alleged violations, but what I want to make emphatically clear is that I've never taken or threatened any staffer who did not volunteer to work on my campaign," Richardson said on the House floor. "There is no doubt that a number of staff members felt compelled or coerced to do [work on the campaign] and that was not my intent, and I deeply regret that it occurred."

Ethics Committee Chairman Jo Bonner, R-Ala., said on the floor that "to serve in this, the people's house, there is an unspoken duty to hold ourselves up to a higher standard. [Richardson] did not live up to this and as such did a disservice to her staff."

Cory Bennett contributed.
 

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