Posts Tagged ‘CREW’

House Ethics Committee Extends Probe Of Rep. Shelley Berkley

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:17 pm March 23rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – The House of Representative’s Ethics Committee said today it is extending a probe of Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and will announce its course of action by July 9.

“The committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee,” a statement from the panel’s chairman and ranking member said.

News of the extension was reported by Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston, who also quotes a Berkley spokeswoman who said in part: “The Nevada Republican Party filed a complaint against Congresswoman Berkley. As the committee reviews this complaint, they will determine that Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s only concern is for the well being of Nevada’s patients.”

The complaint, prompted by a New York Times report, involves allegations that Berkley used her position to help her husband’s medical practice.

In response to the House Ethics announcement, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Communications Director Brian Walsh said in part: “The news that the House Ethics Committee is extending their investigation of embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley is not surprising given what appears to be a pattern of ethical questions that have surrounded her activities over the years.”

Berkley is a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

The allegations are also described in a report released Thursday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), in its new report Family Affair, detailing what the group says is evidence of how members of the House of Representatives use their positions to financially benefit their families. The report identified 248 House members who used their positions to financially benefit themselves or family members.

The CREW report also briefly mentioned Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., for receiving $10,710 for travel and other expenses from his campaign committee in the 2010 election cycle.



FEC Dismisses CREW Complaint Against Ensign

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:16 pm November 19th, 2010

Three days after Senator John Ensign announced that he plans to run for re-election in 2012 despite ongoing ethics investigations into his conduct, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has dismissed a watchdog group’s complaint against Ensign re: a $96,000 payment his parents made to the family of his former mistress, Cynthia Hampton.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) had contended in its compliant that the transfer of money amounted to an illegal political donation. The group is not happy that the FEC (according to the statement on the CREW website) “ignored evidence that the Hamptons themselves considered the payment to be severance, including Mr. Hampton’s contemporaneous notes from conversations he had in which he had referred to the payments as severance.”

The FEC based its decision on the fact that Sen. Ensign’s parents submitted affidavits stating they had intended the money as a gift, not as a severance payment.

Despite escaping sanction by the FEC, Ensign still needs to survive the investigations by the Senate ethics committee and Justice Department and overcome a shortage of campaign cash if he hopes to hold onto this seat for a third term.

IF Ensign runs — it is possible an indictment may yet force a resignation or change of heart — he will almost certainly find himself challenged in the GOP primary, possibly (among others) by Rep. Dean Heller who has not ruled out the option. Sharron Angle might also take a stab at it, having recently said she “can’t stop” believin’ running for office.

(Sidebar: If Angle does challenge Ensign, will he agree to play himself when it comes time for candidate debate preparation? I ask because earlier this week Jon Ralston found out that Ensign played the part of Harry Reid in order to help Angle prepare for her debate with the majority leader.)

(Sidebar 2: Steve Sebelius wondered whether Ensign’s active help for Angle effectively ended the long-standing non-aggression pact between Ensign and Reid. Good question.)

Ensign has repeatedly insisted that he broke no law or Senate rules, a contention in question ever since the New York Times obtained emails showing that Ensign appeared to help get Doug Hampton a job as a lobbyist after his affair with Cindy Hampton was discovered.

Ensign’s most recent federal campaign report showed he had spent over half million dollars on his legal defense and had about $280,000 cash on hand.