Ethics Committee launches probe of Dem Rep. Robert Andrews

The House Ethics Committee announced on Tuesday it was probing allegations that Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) violated House ethics rules.

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) referred the case to the secretive ethics panel, which said it would take an additional 45 days to consider the matter against Andrews and make a formal announcement about its decision on August 31.

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The chairman of the Camden County Republican Party in New Jersey asked the Ethics Committee and the OCE to investigate Roberts last November, following a series of articles that appeared in the Newark Star Ledger.

The articles allege the lawmaker used more than $9,000 in campaign funds to pay for a trip to Scotland with his wife and two children, and more than $10,000 to host a party at Andrews’ home celebrating his Congressional service and his daughter's graduation. The paper also stated that Andrews’ campaign made a $12,500 donation to a local theater gala, in which his daughter was performing.

Andrews rebuffed the allegations on Tuesday and said, through his spokesman, that he is not guilty of the charges leveled against him.

“These accusations are totally and categorically false,” said Andrews in a statement. “Such attacks on anyone's children and families, who are not public figures, should have no place in our political discourse.

“None of these accusations involve the use of taxpayer or government money. Our campaign's public disclosures show that every dollar of our campaign funds was properly spent and fully disclosed.”

Andrews said he has no doubt the House Ethics Committee will find him innocent.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a separate complaint against Andrews last year with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), citing the same Newark Star Ledger articles.

In a later statement, CREW alleged that Andrews directed $8,700 campaign contributions to his wife’s employer, the Rutgers Law School in Camden, where she is associate dean of enrollment.

— This story was updated at 7:29 p.m.