New details emerge in ethics probe of fundraising, vote on Wall Street bill

New details have emerged about an ethics investigation into links between eight members’ fundraising and their votes on the Wall Street reform bill.

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) on Monday notified three members — Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.) — that it was recommending the ethics committee further review their fundraising activities surrounding the Dec. 11, 2009, vote on the financial services measure. The OCE dismissed the cases against the other five members, according to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation.

{mosads}The OCE informed the members who received dismissal notices why they were getting cleared of wrongdoing and provided a rationale for why the three others are still under the microscope.

Crowley left during the Dec. 10 debate over amendments to the legislation in order to attend his holiday fundraiser at financial industry lobbyist Julie Domenick’s home, which is also her office. He then came back and voted against amendments that would have strengthened the bill, The New York Times reported.

Crowley is a prolific fundraiser for Democratic candidates — he serves as finance chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), as well as on the tax-writing Ways and Means panel.

Crowley also was listed as a host for a Dec. 10 fundraiser for Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), as well as at an event for the DCCC at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 9.

His office issued a statement Tuesday, stating the lawmaker “has always complied with the letter and spirit of all rules regarding fundraising and standards of conduct.”

Price’s fundraising luncheon took place on Dec. 10 and was specifically aimed at the financial services sector, the report noted.

Price’s lunch was at the Capitol Hill Club and was headlined by Financial Services Committee ranking member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). He also held a fundraising breakfast there on Dec. 2, the same day the bill was voted out of committee.

It’s unclear, however, why Campbell is still under investigation — his fundraising does not appear to be connected to the financial industry, according to the report. One of the two events he held on Dec. 9 was at the home of defense industry lobbyists Christopher Perkins and Fleming “Mike” Legg.

Campbell held two fundraisers on Dec. 9 — a “California Wine Tasting” headlined by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and a lunch with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif). Both were held at the Capitol Hill Club, a private GOP venue that also houses the offices of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Campbell and Price, who both serve on the Financial Services Committee, issued statements Tuesday denying any wrongdoing and expressing confusion over the OCE’s decision.

“As a member of Congress, I have always complied with the letter and the spirit of the law,” Price said in a statement. “To suggest otherwise is unfounded and untrue. In addition, my voting record and opposition to a culture of taxpayer-funded bailouts has been and always will be unshakable.

“How the OCE arrived at their recommendation is truly a mystery,” he continued. “There being no evidence of any wrongdoing or any inconsistency in my policy position, one can only guess as to the motive behind their decision or even why they chose to initiate a review in the first place.”

Campbell also said he is “perplexed by the OCE’s decision.”

“They have presented no evidence that would suggest wrongdoing. As one of Congress’s most outspoken critics of the earmark system and the waste and corruption it engenders, I have worked to make Congress more transparent and accountable to the American taxpayer,” Campbell said.

“Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unfounded. I look forward to a favorable resolution of this matter.”

-—This story was updated at 7:04 p.m.

Tags Adam Smith Eric Cantor Spencer Bachus

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