The House Ethics Committee announced Tuesday it was opening full-scale investigations to review potential ethics violations of two lawmakers, Rep. Rob Andrews, D-NJ, and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. Both cases involved the alleged use of official or campaign resources for personal purposes.
The existence of the Andrews case has been public for months, but Tuesday’s announcement that the ethics panel had formed an investigative subcommittee means it has taken a more serious turn. The Andrews case was instigated by a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics, which acts as a grand jury of sorts and suggests probes to the formal, lawmaker-run Ethics Committee. Andrews has been accused of using campaigns funds to pay for personal travel and the ethics panel said it was also reviewing whether Andrews had made “false statements” to federal officials.
Andrews, in a statement, predicted the review would “confirm that I have always followed all the rules and met all the standards of the House. In this process, I have always responded truthfully and accurately in all respects.”
The ethics committee’s announcement on Tuesday of an investigative subcommittee into Young was the first indication of an active inquiry into the Alaska Republican. The panel had previously investigated him in 2011 for receiving multiple contributions from corporations tied to the same group of individuals. Young was not charged with wrongdoing, but the committee adopted new rules to prevent such cases in the future.
On Tuesday, the ethics panel said its inquiry into Young involved allegations he received improper gifts and didn’t report them, misused campaign or official resources and that he “made false statements to federal officials.” The panel said the committee had gathered evidence in the probe in the 111th and 112th Congresses, as well as “a referral from the Department of Justice” involving “Young’s expenses and travel costs for certain trips” that the committee said were part of its “ongoing review.
Mike Anderson, Young’s spokesman, said, “Congressman Young has cooperated with the committee and will continue to do so.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Del. Pedro Pierluisi, D-Puerto Rico, will head the Andrews investigative subcommittee. Rep. Pat Meethan, R-Penn., and Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., will lead the probe into Young.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Rep. Michael Capuano as a Republican.
This article appears in the March 20, 2013, edition of National Journal Daily.