Ethics panel finds Massachusetts Democrat didn't violate rules

Ethics panel finds Massachusetts Democrat didn't violate rules
© Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee released a report Thursday clearing Rep. Lori TrahanLori A. TrahanEthics panel finds Massachusetts Democrat didn't violate rules Democrats on House Armed Services panel 'dismayed and gravely concerned' with Esper The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Pfizer's Mikael Dolsten says vaccine development timeline being cut in half; House poised to pass 4 billion relief package MORE (D-Mass.) of allegations that her campaign accepted illegal personal loans during her contested primary in 2018, determining there was no wrongdoing.

In its report, the panel said it did not find that Trahan had violated House rules when she shifted $300,000 from her husband's account to her campaign, as this represented "marital property to which Representative Trahan had a legal right of access and control.”

“Accordingly, the loans were sourced from Representative Trahan’s personal funds, not excessive contributions from her husband. For this reason, the Committee did not find that Representative Trahan acted in violation of House Rules, laws, regulations, or other standards of conduct with respect to campaign contribution limits," the report said.

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Trahan — who won a 10-way Democratic primary — said the basis of the complaint against her had been political.

"The respected House Ethics Committee — made up of Democrats and Republicans — investigated this matter thoroughly and has now unanimously confirmed what I’ve always maintained: that my campaign acted ethically and that these baseless accusations were just politics,” she said in a statement Thursday.

 “Serving the people of the Third Congressional District continues to be the greatest honor of my life, and I will continue to focus on addressing the needs of the people I represent," she added.

The Ethics panel announced in November it was extending its investigation after a conservative watchdog group filed a complaint accusing Trahan of failing to “file ‘true, complete and correct’ financial disclosure statements during her campaign for Congress” after more than $300,000 was shifted from her husband to her campaign. 

Under campaign finance law, candidates are permitted to loan money to themselves but are not eligible to take loans from members of their family.

The Ethics Committee said that under Massachusetts law, the funds coming from Trahan’s husband’s account “satisfied the definition of a candidate’s personal funds under FECA.”