Ethics complaint filed against top House Ethics Republican

The top Republican on the House Ethics Committee was hit with an ethics complaint this week concerning what may be almost 20 impermissible reimbursements from his campaign account to some of his House staffers.

The complaint, first obtained by The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday, alleges that Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantWave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state House conservatives call for ethics probe into Joaquin Castro tweet MORE (R-Texas) reimbursed congressional staffers for food and office supplies with funds from his campaign.

Federal Election Commission and House rules bar staffers from contributing to their employers' campaign.

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Marchant's office confirmed the complaint is before the Office of Congressional Ethics in a statement to The Hill.

"Congressman Marchant has always advised members facing questions by the Congressional Ethics Office to cooperate to the fullest extent possible, and he plans to do the same," Keats Norfleet, Marchant’s campaign spokesperson, said in an email.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the total reimbursements in question add up to nearly $7,800 in campaign-related expenses, and allegedly covered cupcakes, office carpeting and picture framing. 

The paper reported that Democratic activist Pat Pangburn authored the complaint seeking an investigation from the Office of Congressional Ethics. The complaint reportedly details 18 alleged instances between 2007 and 2017 in which Marchant's House staffers received campaign reimbursements.

"It's not a huge amount of money, but he should know better," Pangburn told the newspaper.

After reviewing the complaint, the Office of Congressional Ethics could take no action or could refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee.

Marchant said he has not received any communication from either the House Ethics Committee or the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding the complaint.