Office of Congressional Ethics

House Ethics needs more time on Rep. Lori Trahan case
Office of Congressional Ethics referred Massachusetts freshman's case in September

The Office of Congressional Ethics referred the case involving Rep. Lori Trahan to the House Ethics Committee, which is extending its evaluation of the issue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee is extending its inquiry into Rep. Lori Trahan, the panel said Monday. The committee first received the referral of the Massachusetts freshman's case, which is focused on campaign finance issues, from the Office of Congressional Ethics on Sept. 18.

The ethics panel, lead by Democratic Chairman Ted Deutch of California and ranking member Kenny Marchant, a Texas Republican, has to publicly acknowledge the receipt of an OCE referral to further review a case after 45 days. The OCE can recommend dismissal of a case instead of further review.

House committee renews ethics inquiries into Collins, Hunter and Schweikert
Probes of Hunter and Collins, who are under indictment, put on hold at Justice Department request

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert is one of three Republicans, along with  Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, who will remain under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call photo)

House Ethics Committee investigations into Republicans Chris Collins of New York, Duncan Hunter of California and David Schweikert of Arizona were reauthorized for the 116th Congress this week.

The Ethics Committee voted unanimously to reauthorize investigative subcommittees looking into the three lawmakers, but the panel agreed to a Justice Department request to put its probes into Collins and Hunter on hold as they battle criminal indictments.

Office of Congressional Ethics starts year with a whisper, not a bang
OCE board appointees not announced until first quarter was nearly over

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced their appointments to the Office of Congressional Ethics board on March 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Office of Congressional Ethics took no actions in the first quarter of the 116th Congress, due in part to its board not being filled until mid-March.

On March 18, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced appointees for the 116th Congress, including former Reps. David Skaggs, D-Colo., who now chairs OCE; Karan English, D-Ariz.; Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga.; and Mike Barnes, D-Md., who serves as an alternate. Allison Hayward, a conservative law professor and McCarthy pick, is the newly appointed co-chair.

Tips and calls to the Office of Congressional Ethics spiked last session
More than 13,300 private citizens reached out to group charged with reviewing misconduct allegations

Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi receives the gavel from outgoing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in January. The pair announced Office of Congressional Ethics appointees for the 116th Congress on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Citizen outreach to the Office of Congressional Ethics more than doubled in the 115th Congress, but the agency’s pre-election blackout period means they didn’t take action on any cases in the last quarter of 2018.

More than 13,300 private citizens contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics during the 115th Congress, up from 6,285 in the 114th Congress, according to the OCE’s most recent quarterly report. The contacts fall into two categories: allegations of misconduct and requests for information about the OCE.

Staff Testimony and Report Released In Ethics Case Against Rep. Thomas Garrett
Virginia Republican announced in May he would be leaving Congress to confront his excessive drinking

The Office of Congressional Ethics released its report on their investigation into Rep. Tom Garrett, R-Va., Wednesday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Congressional Ethics released its report on allegations against  Rep. Thomas Garrett Tuesday, including testimony from staffers past and present.  The House Ethics Committee announced that it is continuing its own inquiry, but has not yet impaneled an investigative subcommittee.

The House Ethics panel began the inquiry into the outgoing Virginia Republican on June 8 and received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics on Sept. 5 and extended the inquiry in late September.

3 Eye-Popping Details in the Chris Collins Case Documents
Bad news at the White House, in-law joint indictments and prior knowledge

The events leading to Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., arrest are eye-catching. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins was arrested Wednesday on charges including insider trading and lying to authorities. The indictment documents and related complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission illuminate a wild chain of events that led to the arrest.

Here are three of the most eye-popping details from the documents:

Crisis Averted but Future Is Still Unclear for House Watchdog
Republicans promise bipartisan review of Office of Congressional Ethics

Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano, who chaired the committee that recommended the creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics, says he would welcome looking at potential revisions to the office. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans might have ditched a plan to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. But the future of Congress’ only outside ethics review board is far from guaranteed.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, has been under fire from both parties since it was created eight years ago. Now the House GOP majority is promising to revisit a potential overhaul before the end of this session, possibly as early as August.

Report: Hunter Used Campaign Funds to Fly Family Rabbit
Comes after son used campaign credit card for playing video games

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., used $600 in campaign money to fly a family rabbit, an ongoing review of his expenses revealed.

Amid Blowback, Republicans Strip Ethics Office Change From House Rules
Progressive groups join with some conservatives to oppose overhaul of OCE

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conducts a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, September 21, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By Rema Rahman and Simone Pathé

House Republicans on Tuesday quickly reversed their position on a provision in a House Rules package that would have significantly changed how the independent Office of Congressional Ethics investigates members of Congress. 

Ethics Committee Rebukes Rep. Ed Whitfield
Kentucky congressman allowed lobbyist wife to contact staff

Kentucky Rep. Edward Whitfield said his failure to prevent contact between his lobbyist wife and his staff was "unintentional." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee  has concluded unanimously that Kentucky Republican Rep. Edward Whitfield "failed to prohibit lobbying contacts between his staff and his wife."  

"The committee found that Rep. Whitfield failed to take the proper care to avoid violations of the applicable rules,” according to a report released Thursday .