Ethics extends probe on three lawmakers, clears Tierney

The House Ethics Committee on Wednesday announced it was continuing investigations into charges that Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) violated House rules.

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The panel moved to continue the matters under a committee rule that does not require it to launch an official investigation, which could lead to punitive actions, but will allow it to “gather additional information necessary to complete its review.”

The Ethics Committee also announced it had completed its investigation of Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and cleared him of allegations that he violated House rules by lying on official House documents.

The allegations against Tierney are related to money that his wife received as payment from family members that the couple failed to report to the IRS and on the lawmaker’s financial disclosure forms.

The committee determined that Tierney did not violate the chamber’s rules because the money could be considered a gift from family and that he did not “intentionally” mislead the House Ethics panel.

"The committee reviewed the allegations, conducted additional investigation as necessary, and unanimously concluded that the presently-available evidence was inconclusive as to whether the payments to Mrs. Tierney were income or gifts and does not warrant a finding that Representative Tierney intentionally mischaracterized the nature of the payments for financial disclosure or tax purposes,” the committee stated in its announcement.

The secretive committee did not reveal the nature of the charges it was investigating against Bachmann, Bishop or Roskam.

It has long been reported that Bachmann, who is planning to retire at the end of this Congress, has been in the thick of ethical troubles regarding the finances of her failed presidential bid last year. The Ethics Committee had already moved to continue to investigate in July. Bachmann has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The outside Office of Congressional Ethics referred all three cases to the Ethics Committee for further review after conducting its own investigations and finding reasonable evidence of wrongdoing earlier this year.

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