Committee on Ethics

Charlie Dent

Senior Staff Ethics Training

2015/08/19

This training is for senior staff, i.e. any employee paid at the senior staff level, which is $121,956 for calendar year 2015. This training satisfies the requirement for senior staff training for the 114th Congress.

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Statement of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics Regarding Representative Chaka Fattah

2015/08/03

In accordance with House Rule XI, clause 3, and Committee Rules 10(a)(2) and 18(e)(2), the Committee on Ethics (Committee) unanimously voted on July 29, 2015, to establish an Investigative Subcommittee.  Pursuant to the Committee’s action, the Investigative Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Representative Chaka Fattah violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other applicable standard of conduct in the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities, with respect to allegations forming the basis for criminal charges of conspiracy, racketeering, bribery, fraud, falsification of records, making false statements, and money laundering, as filed against him in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on July 29, 2015. 

The Honorable Susan W. Brooks will serve as the Chair of the Investigative Subcommittee, and the Honorable Yvette D. Clarke will serve as the Ranking Member.  The other two members of the Investigative Subcommittee are the Honorable John M. Katko and the Honorable Janice K. Hahn. 

No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with Committee rules.

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Statement of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics Regarding Officially-Connected Travel to Azerbaijan in 2013

2015/07/31

The Committee on Ethics (Committee) has been reviewing allegations relating to officially-connected travel by Members and staff of the House to Azerbaijan in May 2013.  Today the Committee filed a Report to the House announcing its conclusions.  The Committee unanimously voted to adopt the attached Report and its findings.  As described in the Report, the Committee found no evidence that the Members and staff who participated in the trip knowingly violated any House Rule, law, regulation, or other standard of conduct.

The Committee conducted an extensive investigation.  It issued 12 subpoenas and 18 voluntary requests for information, and collected nearly  190,000 pages of materials, including approximately 10,000 pages of supplemental materials provided to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).  The Committee also interviewed ten witnesses.

All of the Members and staff who went on the trips did so only after getting Committee approval to accept the trips.  Neither the Committee nor OCE found any evidence of any knowing violation by any Member or House staffer.  In addition, all Members and staff fully cooperated with the Committee's review.

However, both the Committee and OCE found evidence suggesting that a number of parties outside the House may have affirmatively lied to and/or withheld information from both the Committee and the House Members and staff who were invited.

The Committee is referring the matter of third parties apparently engaging in a criminal conspiracy to lie to Congress to the Department of Justice for such further action as it deems appropriate.  So as not to interfere with or undermine any criminal investigation, the Committee will provide materials from the nearly 190,000 pages of documents it acquired, including bank records, to the Department of Justice confidentially.

During the Committee's investigation, materials transmitted by OCE to the Committee were disclosed to a newspaper.  This unauthorized public disclosure impeded the Committee's ongoing investigation , and prevented it from gathering information critical to its investigation. Following this unauthorized public disclosure, a central witness to most of the substantive allegations in question invoked his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify and refused to comply with a subpoena for documents issued to him by the Committee. Foreign entities outside of the Committee 's jurisdiction  to compel cooperation also subsequently declined to cooperate with the Committee's investigation.

Because the House travelers acted in good faith, and the evidence was inconclusive as to the true source of funds for the travel, the Committee concluded that the trips did not constitute an impermissible gift of travel , and decided that no further action is required regarding the House travelers' acceptance of any trip expenses.

Separately from the travel expenses, House travelers also received tangible gifts during the trips.  These gifts may have been permissible under the gift rule, but the relevant provisions would require knowledge of the true identity of the donor to make that determination.  Given the lack of cooperation from third parties, the Committee was not able to make that determination, so it has directed the travelers to take remedial action.  All of the Members who went on the trip have already taken that remedial action or committed to do so.

The Committee intends to take no further action regarding this matter and thus considers it closed. This Report constitutes a final resolution of this matter under House Rule XI, clause 3(r).

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Statement of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics Regarding Representative Michael M. Honda

2015/07/20

            Pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(8)(A), and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A) and 17A(c)(1), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Michael M. Honda, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on June 5, 2015. 

            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.

            The Committee will announce its course of action in this matter on or before Thursday, September 3, 2015.  

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General Ethics Training

2015/07/17

All staff must complete one hour of ethics training during each calendar year. This course fulfills the yearly requirement for 2015. This session is for existing staff and does not fulfill the New Employee training requirement. In addition to this training, Senior Staff are required complete a specialized Senior Staff training before the end of the 114th Congress. Available via HouseConnect.

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Statement of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics Regarding the Matter of Allegations Related to Officially-Connected Travel to Azerbaijan

2015/06/22

Pursuant to House Rule XI, clauses 3(b)(8)(A) and 3(r), and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(B), 17A(c)(1), and 17A(k)(1), the Committee has voted to extend its review of the matters regarding Representative Jim Bridenstine, Representative Yvette Clarke, Representative Danny Davis, Representative Rubén Hinojosa, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Representative Leonard Lance, Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, Representative Gregory Meeks, and Representative Ted Poe, which were transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on May 8, 2015. 

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.  In light of the extraordinary circumstances here, the Committee has determined it is appropriate to provide additional information.

In these matters, a newspaper obtained materials transmitted by OCE to the Committee.  The newspaper then published a story about aspects of the materials and related allegations.  Other news outlets then reported on the newspaper story, apparently without having access to the materials transmitted by OCE to the Committee.  

Although the Committee is required to make public the materials transmitted to it by OCE in certain circumstances, the Committee did not authorize the public release of those materials.  Such an unauthorized release may have violated House Rules and other standards of conduct.  Moreover, the unauthorized disclosure of the materials has directly impacted the Committee’s investigation, which began well before OCE transmitted the materials to the Committee. 

Materials transmitted to the Committee by OCE are not intended to be the resolution of a matter.  Instead, they are intended to support OCE’s recommendation to the Committee about whether allegations in a particular matter should be investigated further or should be dismissed.  An OCE referral is expressly precluded from containing any conclusions regarding the validity of the allegations upon which it is based or the guilt or innocence of the individual who is the subject of a review.  In addition, the Committee is required to review a referral from OCE without prejudice or presumptions as to the merit of the allegations. 

The Committee’s investigation and the materials sent to the Committee by OCE involve privately-sponsored, officially-connected travel to Azerbaijan.  Each of the nine Members sought the Committee’s review and determination whether they could accept the invitation.  In each case, the Committee reviewed the materials submitted by the Member and sponsor and approved the Member to accept the travel before the trip began.  Subsequently, questions arose about whether the trips complied with the requirements for such travel.

The Committee’s review of these matters is ongoing.  Every Member has fully cooperated with the Committee’s review.  In order to comply with Committee Rule 7 regarding confidentiality, out of fairness to all respondents, and to assure the integrity of its work, the Committee will refrain from making further public statements on this matter at this time.  The Committee’s next public statement with regard to the Azerbaijan Trips will occur on or before Thursday, August 6, 2015.

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New Employee Ethics Training - DC Staff

2015/04/24

New employees who work in the Capitol Hill offices must attend a live ethics training briefing.

Click here to register.

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New Employee Ethics Training - DC Staff

2015/04/24

New employees who work in the Capitol Hill offices must attend a live ethics training briefing.

Click here to register.

Read More

New Employee Ethics Training - DC Staff

2015/04/24

New employees who work in the Capitol Hill offices must attend a live ethics training briefing.

Click here to register.

Read More

New Employee Ethics Training - DC Staff

2015/04/24

New employees who work in the Capitol Hill offices must attend a live ethics training briefing.

Click here to register.

Read More

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Contact Information

1015 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-7103
Fax 202-225-7392
ethics.house.gov


Membership

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Charlie Dent

PENNSYLVANIA's 15th DISTRICT

Trey Gowdy

SOUTH CAROLINA's 4th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT