Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) has made the unusual move of calling for an ethics investigation of his actions, according to a letter his office released on Monday.
In the letter to the House Ethics Committee, the congressman said he was “distressed by the innuendo” that there is a conflict between his personal financial interests and his official actions in Washington.
Gannett's Washington bureau conducted an investigation into Petri’s advocacy at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill for Oshkosh Corp., a defense contractor located in his district, while he owned hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of company stock.
USA Today reported Petri contacted the Defense secretary and the Army secretary in 2009 to attempt to preserve and expedite the awarding of a $3 billion truck manufacturing contract to Oshkosh, and asked Congress to reject $101 million in cuts to the program in 2013.
Meanwhile, Petri’s investments of $265,000 to $650,000 in Oshkosh stock grew in value to $340,000 to $863,000, a gain of 28 percent to 33 percent, the Gannett analysis found.
Petri pushed back against assertions he used his official position for personal gain.
“It is my honor and duty to advocate on behalf of those who live and work in my area,” he wrote.
Petri added that he had reported his investments in annual disclosure forms and on public file, and that his actions as an Oshkosh stockholder “are no different than any other stockholder based solely on public information.”
“My advocacy has been taken openly,” he wrote.