Ethics Committee releases new details on allegations against Arizona GOP lawmaker

Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday released an expanded list of accusations faced by Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), who was accused last year of misusing official funds and receiving improper campaign contributions.

Schweikert, who is under investigation by the panel, has been accused of possibly receiving gifts or loans from a congressional employee that were later reimbursed from his official office account, according to a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) made public Thursday.

The report released by the committee details the existing allegations faced by the Arizona Republican, as well as new allegations that had not yet been made public. 

{mosads}”Rep. Schweikert or his campaign committee may have received loans or gifts from a congressional employee,” the report alleged. The committee also alleged that Schweikert “may have used official resources, including staff time, to benefit his campaigns and pressured congressional staff to perform political activity.”

The committee is reviewing additional allegations, including claims that Schweikert pressured staffers to perform political activities and “authorized compensation to an employee who did not perform duties commensurate with his House employment.”

According to the report, the OCE board voted unanimously to recommend that the committee dismiss an allegation that Schweikert “improperly linked official activities to campaign or political support,” writing there was “not substantial reason to believe” the congressman engaged in such alleged activities.

The OCE board voted unanimously to recommend an expanded inquiry into Schweikert.

In a press release, the Ethics Committee noted that Schweikert was presumed innocent until proven guilty, and said the panel would not comment further.

Schweikert’s office said in a statement to The Hill that Thursday’s report was merely a restatement of earlier accusations against the congressman, which he had denied.

“Given that today’s report from OCE is merely a restatement of what has been reported previously, our position has not changed,” said Chris Baker, a spokesman for Schweikert’s office. “We have welcomed the review being conducted by the House Committee and remain confident that the outcome of that review will be favorable to Congressman Schweikert.”

The House Ethics Committee announced it was expanding its probe in December after receiving additional information from the OCE.

Schweikert has denied any wrongdoing, asserting the errors were “clerical mistakes” and that he will provide any information needed for the panel to reach its resolution.

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