Ethics charges against Rep. Bachus dropped

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) announced Monday that ethics claims against him had been unanimously dismissed by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Bachus had been scrutinized over whether he used his high-ranking position to obtain private information to make profitable financial trades.

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In a lengthy statement, Bachus said he was relieved that the "long, painful and frustrating experience" had come to an end, and dismissed any claim that he violated ethics rules as part of a "destructive and disruptive, media generated assault."

"While their review and report should never have been necessary, I am pleased that they have helped clear my name," he said.

Bachus was among a number of high-ranking lawmakers whose personal financial moves garnered heightened scrutiny after a book and "60 Minutes" report suggested they may have used private information obtained on the job to make profitable moves. All members denied any wrongdoing.

But in February, it was revealed that several financial trades made by Bachus, who used to be an active trader, were being reviewed by the ethics agency.

Accusations of corruption dogged him in his reelection effort, as the typically secure lawmaker had to tap his substantial war chest to fend off a primary challenger in one of the closest races of his career. He ended up defeating state Sen. Scott Beason, garnering 59 percent of the vote to 27.

Bachus referred to his hard-fought primary victory in Monday's statement.

"Perhaps the most gratifying aspect is that my constituents who know me best recently reaffirmed their faith in my character and my ability to serve their interests, and my personal commitment to them is to continue to serve with the highest level of effectiveness and accountability," he said.

He also thanked the ethics staff for their "professionalism" in reaching the decision.

The allegations against Bachus and others drove lawmakers, in a rare bipartisan move, to pass the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which makes clear lawmakers are subject to insider trading laws, as well as other ethics reforms.