Illinois Democrat reveals ethics review

Greg Nash

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said the Office of Congressional Ethics is reviewing him after reports in December about a $1 million grant his non-profit organization received more than a decade ago. 

Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times he has been cooperating fully with the review and has asked others around him to do the same. He said he has not yet been interviewed by the independent panel. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“I have been just totally, totally cooperative, open and cooperative and I encouraged anybody they wanted to talk to [to be] honest and frank about it,” Rush said.

He said he hoped the OCE would find he has not violated any rules. If the review advances, it could head to the House Ethics Committee for further review or dismissal. 

Rush’s campaign fund has paid $5,000 to a law firm to handle the review. His attorney, Scott Thomas, said he expects Rush to be interviewed and hoped the matter would be fully resolved "without any need for sanction."

Thomas said the review likely stems from a Sun-Times report in December that found a $1 million grant from telecommunications company SBC, now AT&T, given to Rush's group to build a community center to teach technology skills, never resulted in a finished center. And as the report points out, "it's unclear what happened to the money."

Rush said all the money went to computer training at other locations in the community. 

The report found the money from the technology company started going to Rush's group, Rebirth Englewood Community Development Corp., while it pushed for support for legislation handled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rush is a member of that panel.  

Rush said the House Ethics Committee previously advised it wasn't a violation for his group to accept the money, because he did not benefit. 

According to the Sun-Times, Rush has also not reported paying rent for his campaign office and has used campaign funds to help finance the Beloved Community Christian Church, which he founded.