Ethics Committee Weighing Gutierrez Case

Committee will determine whether staff contract broke House rules.

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05: U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) speaks during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. 
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
Billy House
March 20, 2014, 11:12 a.m.

House eth­ics watch­dogs said Thursday they are re­view­ing a mat­ter in­volving Rep. Lu­is Gu­ti­er­rez, one of the Con­gress’s most re­cog­niz­able and en­er­get­ic cham­pi­ons of im­mig­ra­tion re­form, but de­clined to provide any de­tails.

Pub­lished re­ports dat­ing from last sum­mer have ques­tioned pay­ments by Gu­ti­er­rez, an Illinois Demo­crat, of more than $500,000 over 10 years to a Chica­go lob­by­ist, who used to be his chief of staff, to do vari­ous jobs for his con­gres­sion­al of­fice.

USA Today re­por­ted that Doug Scofield stepped down as Gu­ti­er­rez’s chief of staff in 2002, but was paid sev­er­al thou­sand dol­lars a month as a con­tract­or to train staff, re­view and draft news re­leases, help pub­li­cize Gu­ti­er­rez’s activ­it­ies, and handle oth­er tasks. Soon after the pa­per raised the is­sue, Gu­ti­er­rez’s of­fice dis­con­tin­ued the con­tract with Scofield.

The an­nounce­ment from House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee Chair­man Mike Con­away and rank­ing Demo­crat Linda Sanc­hez did not men­tion the mat­ter spe­cific­ally. The case was re­ferred to the com­mit­tee in Decem­ber by the in­de­pend­ent Of­fice of Con­gres­sion­al Eth­ics, after it con­duc­ted its own in­quiry.

Un­der House rules, the com­mit­tee now has 45 days — un­til May 5 — to de­cide wheth­er it will ex­pand its re­view by em­pan­el­ing a spe­cial in­vest­ig­at­ive sub­com­mit­tee. Such a pan­el would form­ally con­sider wheth­er Gu­ti­er­rez broke House rules and, if so, pos­sibly re­com­mend pun­ish­ment.

“The OCE re­fer­ral to the House Com­mit­tee on Eth­ics relates to wheth­er a long-stand­ing con­tract was al­low­able un­der House rules,” said Douglas Rivlin, a spokes­man for the 11-term con­gress­man from West Chica­go. “The con­tract for ser­vices was re­viewed and ap­proved by the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives and sub­mit­ted for re­new­al each Con­gress for 10 years. It was con­sist­ently and prop­erly re­por­ted. Rep. Gutiér­rez can­celled the con­tract last year.”

Rivlin ad­ded in his state­ment: “Rep. Gutiér­rez co­oper­ated fully with the OCE dur­ing its re­view and will con­tin­ue to do so with the com­mit­tee. As the com­mit­tee has noted, an OCE re­fer­ral does not in­dic­ate that any vi­ol­a­tion has oc­curred or re­flect a judg­ment on be­half of the com­mit­tee.”

The OCE would not com­ment on the case Thursday, and a re­port provided with its Dec. 23 re­fer­ral of the Gu­ti­er­rez case to the Eth­ics Com­mit­tee has not been made pub­lic.

On sep­ar­ate mat­ters, the com­mit­tee is ex­pec­ted to an­nounce by Monday wheth­er it will pro­ceed to that next in­vest­ig­at­ive step on al­leg­a­tions in­volving Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence Chair­wo­man Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers of Wash­ing­ton, and in an un­re­lated mat­ter in­volving fresh­man Rep. Mark­wayne Mul­lin, an Ok­lahoma Re­pub­lic­an.

Gu­ti­er­rez has in re­cent years built a na­tion­al pro­file as one of Con­gress’s most pas­sion­ate ad­voc­ates on im­mig­ra­tion is­sues, and is re­garded one of his party’s lead­ing strategists on try­ing to come up with a bi­par­tis­an ap­proach to im­mig­ra­tion re­form.

He has been part of an in­form­al bi­par­tis­an group of House mem­bers try­ing to draft an im­mig­ra­tion bill that would in­crease bor­der se­cur­ity and al­low the na­tion’s 11 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants to ap­ply for U.S. cit­izen­ship. He also is chair­man of the Con­gres­sion­al His­pan­ic Caucus Im­mig­ra­tion Task Force, and pre­vi­ously served as chair­man of the Demo­crat­ic Caucus Im­mig­ra­tion Task Force.

This ses­sion, Gu­ti­er­rez gave up his No. 3 po­s­i­tion in terms of Demo­crat­ic seni­or­ity on the Fin­an­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in or­der to serve on the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, which is the com­mit­tee of jur­is­dic­tion for im­mig­ra­tion.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CANCELS FLORIDA TRIP
Congress Heads Back to Work to End Shutdown
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."

Source:
CLOTURE FAILS
Government Shutdown Begins, as Senate Balks at Stopgap
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."

Source:
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN SUSPICIOUS CHECKS FLAGGED
Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
2 days ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
DISCLOSURES MORE THAN DOUBLED
Mueller Investigation Leads to Hundreds of New FARA Filings
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login