Matt York / AP
The house unanimously passed a rare ethics resolution on Friday morning to reprimand David Schweikert, R-Ariz., For violating the rules for funding conventions and campaigns.
Schweikert agreed to pay a $ 50,000 fine and admitted 11 ethical violations, including misuse of official funds.
The house ethics committee had examined Schweikert, who was elected in 2010, for more than two years. The subcommittee of inquiry concluded that there is “material reason” to believe that Schweikert violates the government’s code of ethics, campaign funding laws, and house rules.
Investigators concluded that Schweikert had failed to disclose, or incorrectly disclose, $ 305,000 in loans or loan repayments over a seven-year period, and had not reported campaign contributions in excess of $ 140,000.
A 13-page report on the committee’s investigations and results indicates that Schweikert’s campaign was accepted by his then chief of staff Richard Schwab for over $ 270,000, which violates campaign financing laws.
A statement issued by the ethics committee on Thursday also said that Schweikert had misused his congress allowance for “unofficial purposes” and put pressure on “official personnel to carry out campaign work”.
The results indicate that Schweikert made “vague or misleading comments” that “enabled him to avoid the statue of restriction for the most outrageous violations of campaign finance laws.”
Continuation of the report: “Efforts like that of Rep. Schweikert are committed to delaying and hindering them [investigative subcommittee] Not only were the investigations extremely harmful to the work of the committee and the reputation of the house, they were also sanctionable misconduct. “
Blame representative for breach of trust
The chair of the ethics committee, Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Spoke in front of the house on Friday morning and emphasized the consequences of a breach of trust in public.
“One of our most basic commitments as a member of Congress is to adhere to the principle that public office is a public trust. To maintain that trust and to maintain the trust of citizens in the integrity of this body, we as members have bound ourselves to certain standards of official behavior “, he said.
Deutch continued to encourage Congress members and staff to contact the committee if they have ethical questions to “avoid the mistakes made by Rep. Schweikert”.
“The committee’s impartial advisory staff is available at all times to answer ethics-related questions, hold special training for members and staff in addition to the mandatory annual ethics training, and provide advisory opinions upon request,” he said.
Schweikert submitted a response to the committee, saying that although he believed he could refute some of the allegations, he decided to reach an agreement because the process was “time consuming and extremely costly”.
The referral is a big blow to Schweikert, who is facing a tough race in Arizona’s competitive 6th district, which spans Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Four Democrats will face each other in a primary on August 4.
Schweikert’s best democratic opponent, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni said Schweikert “abused his power and betrayed public trust”.
As Steve Goldstein from the NPR member station KJZZ reports, Schweikert was already faced with a major challenge, also because the electorate increasingly wants measures to combat racial injustice.