Labrador’s Spokesman at Heart of McMorris Rodgers Ethics Case

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sits on a couch as she prepares for responding to President Barack Obama tonight's State of the Union address January 28, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Republican Conference, was picked to deliver the response.
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Billy House
Feb. 6, 2014, 7:21 a.m.

The man at the cen­ter of a House eth­ics re­view in­volving Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence Chair­wo­man Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers is her own former press spokes­man, who now serves as com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or for Rep. Raul Lab­rador.

At the heart of the eth­ics re­view is wheth­er Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers broke House rules by us­ing cam­paign funds to cov­er some of the costs of her in­tern­al GOP lead­er­ship race, something that former staffer Todd Winer, who left Mc­Mor­ris Ro­gers’s of­fice after the Wash­ing­ton state Re­pub­lic­an won her lead­er­ship post in 2012, has al­leged, sources say. Winer did not im­me­di­ately re­turn calls and an email Thursday.

“We’re fully co­oper­at­ing,” said Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, who nar­rowly de­feated Rep. Tom Price to be­come the fourth-rank­ing Re­pub­lic­an in the House. It was just last week that Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers grabbed a slice of the na­tion­al spot­light when she gave the GOP re­sponse to the State of the Uni­on Ad­dress.

Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers’s law­yer and a spokes­man also re­leased pre­pared state­ments, vehe­mently deny­ing Winer’s al­leg­a­tions.

One source sym­path­et­ic to Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied, said Winer was un­happy about not get­ting the job as the House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or. The source claimed that he is known to have star­ted shop­ping his al­leg­a­tions around to re­port­ers and oth­ers last year.

After its look in­to the mat­ter, the in­de­pend­ent Of­fice of Con­gres­sion­al Eth­ics re­com­men­ded in Decem­ber that the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee con­duct a full re­view of the case. The com­mit­tee is ex­pec­ted to an­nounce Thursday that it will take an­oth­er 45 days to re­view the mat­ter.

“We are con­fid­ent that every activ­ity was com­pli­ant with all fed­er­al laws, House rules, and stand­ards of con­duct. We are fully co­oper­at­ing and look for­ward to see­ing this mat­ter dis­missed,” Nate Hod­son, a spokes­man for Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, said in a state­ment.

El­li­ot Berke, Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers’s at­tor­ney, took a swipe at the Of­fice of Con­gres­sion­al Eth­ics it­self.

“As has be­come an un­for­tu­nate rite of pas­sage for many mem­bers of Con­gress, the OCE reg­u­larly refers mat­ters to the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee for fur­ther re­view. Such re­views are vir­tu­ally auto­mat­ic, and as the com­mit­tee al­ways points out, does not in­dic­ate that any vi­ol­a­tion has oc­curred, or re­flect any judg­ment on be­half of the Com­mit­tee,” said Berke, who is with the law firm McGuire Woods.

He ad­ded, “The con­gress­wo­man and her of­fice co­oper­ated fully with the OCE dur­ing its in­quiry and have already be­gun as­sist­ing the com­mit­tee with its re­view. We are con­fid­ent that the com­mit­tee will ul­ti­mately find that the al­leg­a­tions were base­less and that her of­fice al­ways fol­lowed all laws, rules, and stand­ards of con­duct.”

A spokes­wo­man for the OCE de­clined to com­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the OCE’s rules, to refer a mat­ter to the Eth­ics Com­mit­tee for fur­ther re­view, its board must con­clude after eval­u­at­ing all the evid­ence that there is “sub­stan­tial reas­on to be­lieve a vi­ol­a­tion has oc­curred.”

Wheth­er Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers and Lab­rador have talked about the mat­ter, or Winer, is un­clear. Price said Thursday he knew noth­ing about the in­vest­ig­a­tion, which was first re­por­ted by Politico.

Sarah Mimms contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
$23 MILLION FEWER INSURED IN 2026
Congressional Budget Office Scores House Trumpcare Bill
2 hours ago
BREAKING

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would replace Obamacare. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce the deficit by $119 billion by 2026, while leaving 14 million more Americans uninsured in 2018 than under current law, a number swelling to 23 million by 2026. Further, insurance premiums would balloon 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019 before the waiver provision in the legislation would kick in. The provision allows states to apply for waivers and permit insurers to offer skimpier plans, which would likely entice younger and healthier individuals to buy health insurance while potentially pricing older and less healthy Americans out of insurance plans. House Republicans approved this bill in late April without waiting for the CBO score.

Source:
PREFERS “CLEAN” BILL
Mnuchin Looks To Avoid Debt Ceiling Fight
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS
GOP DISCORD
Graham Rejects Trump’s Budget In Hearing
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump's budget is literal more than recycling bin material. "The budget proposed by the president doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing," Graham said. Graham had previously opposed the budget over its nearly 30 percent cut to the budget of the State Department. The budget slashes spending on domestic priorities while increasing military spending.

Source:
“THAT’S THE GOAL”
McConnell Not Sure How To Get 50 Votes For Health Care
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn't yet know the formula towards gaining passage of an Obamacare replacement in the Senate. "I don't know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell said. The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill which has been widely seen as dead on arrival in the Senate, and McConnell has put together a working group of Republican Senators working towards creating health care legislation which could gain the support of at least 50 Senators.

Source:
PRAISED MURDEROUS LEADER
Transcript Of Trump, Duterte Phone Call Leaks
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The transcript of a phone call between Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was leaked and it shows Trump referring to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as a "madman with nuclear weapons" and praising Duterte, saying he was doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem." For context, Duterte has presided over a vicious and genocidal campaign of extrajudicial killings within his country which has led to the murder of thousands of expected drug dealers and users. Trump also told Duerte to take care of himself and promised that the U.S. would "take care of North Korea."

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