House ethics panel opens investigation of Democratic Rep. Reyes

The House Ethics Committee announced on Friday that it is investigating allegations against Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas).

The secretive panel stated that after six weeks of investigating the lawmaker, it was moving to continue its probe until Nov. 28, 2012. 

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The Ethics committee did not specify the nature of the alleged violations of House rules that it is probing in the case, but stressed that the extension of its investigation did not indicate that Reyes was guilty. 

The outside Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) board referred the case to the Ethics panel on Aug. 30.

Reyes lost his Democratic primary race earlier this year to former El Paso councilman Beto O’Rourke amid allegations from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) watchdog group that he used campaign contributions to reimburse himself, his niece, his brother, and his sister-in-law more than $400,000 in the 2008 and 2010 elections. 

Reyes’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reyes' office said the lawmaker has not broken any House rule while in office and has pledged his cooperation to the Ethics panel.

"Congressman Reyes has carried out his duties as the federal representative of El Paso with the highest level of ethics, strictly adhering to the rules governing the U.S. House of Representatives," said Jose Borjon, a spokesman for Reyes, in a statement.

"He has full faith in the House Committee on Ethics, is fully cooperating with their review, and expects this referral to be disposed of quickly."

— This story was updated at 5:47 p.m. with a statement from the office of Rep. Reyes.

Mke Lillis contributed.