Roger Williams Cleared in Auto Dealership Ethics Probe

Texas Republican denied conflict of interest over amendment

An ethics probe of whether Texas Republican Rep. Roger Williams would have personally benefited from an auto industry-related amendment he offered has concluded in his favor. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee has cleared Rep. Roger Williams in an investigation into whether his business would have benefited from an amendment he offered that would allow auto dealers to rent or loan vehicles under recall.

The Texas Republican owns an auto mall in his home state, Roger Williams Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Weatherford, Texas, which had prompted the possibility of a conflict of interest on a bill the House was considering in November 2015.

The committee found there was no evidence Williams or his staff had discussed whether the transportation-related bill or the amendment would have any impact on Williams’ auto dealership and that any financial interest that would be affected by the amendment would have been “minimal.”

Williams told Ethics Committee staff he did not contact the panel before introducing the amendment because “[h]e had no indication that what he was doing could have possibly been perceived as unethical.”

The Office of Congressional Ethics had asked the committee to take up the matter because it believed Williams took official action on a surface transportation bill that would have resulted in personal benefit.

The final decision was ultimately up to the committee.

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