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3 Arizona congressmen under ethics probes

Posted by   /  June 14, 2019  /  No Comments

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Rep. Raúl Grijalva faces ethics probe over hostile workplace allegations

Rep. David Schweikert allegedly presided over a slipshod office operation 

Rep. Paul Gosar’s Christmas bonuses for staff questioned.

The Arizona Republic

The House Ethics Committee is examining allegations that Rep. Raúl Grijalva(D-Ariz.), the Natural Resources Committee chairman, created a hostile workplace, his spokesman confirmed on Friday.

The ethics probe comes four years after the Natural Resources Committee shelled out more than $48,000 to settle a complaint by a former female staffer over a hostile work environment linked to Grijalva’s alcohol use. The settlement was formally disclosed by the Ethics Committee in a December 2018 letter where it said the payments were permissible.

The Ethics Committee probe was first reported by E&E News.

Grijalva is one of the most senior Hispanic lawmakers in the House and is in his first term as chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. Elected to Congress in 2002, the Arizona Democrat is a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and past chairman of the Progressive Caucus.

Grijalva asserted the review will fully exonerate him and hopes to see it completed as soon as possible.

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Arizona Rep. Paul Gosarresponded immediately to the Federal Elections Commission seeking more information about his holiday bonuses for his Congressional staff. However, that response may raise further concerns about House Ethics rules violations and/or campaign finance reporting, Arizona’s Politics report.

The campaign committee filed an amended report. It now says that most of his congressional staff was actually paid out of the campaign committee’s checkbook for doing “administrative services.”

This may raise further questions from authorities. The amended report now contradicts the committee’s second amended post-general report, as to the purpose of the holiday disbursements. Both reports now do indicate that the monies were first owed to the congressional staff during the post-general election period – which actually includes a few weeks before election day (October 18- November 26); could the Congressional staff members actually have performed $44,000 worth of “administrative services” during that period in a not-very-intense general election campaign. (Gosar won with more than 68% of the CD4 vote.

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Rep. David Schweikert presided over a slipshod office operation with financial oversight so weak that his former chief of staff managed to take home improper, extra pay that violated House ethics rules for years, a newly released investigation found.

Oliver Schwab may have collected $60,000 in outside pay over three years above what House rules permitted, and attended the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale — with Schweikert, R-Ariz. — as part of a taxpayer-paid trip that was reported as official business, the report said.

There were other possible sources of income Schwab had that investigators could not examine during the probe that has dogged the five-term Republican congressman and his operations for more than a year.

Neither Schwab nor Schweikert cooperated with the probe, the report by the Office of Congressional Ethics said. Beyond them, numerous congressional staffers, Schwab’s wife and others also refused to participate in the probe.

Apart from the alleged wrongful spending, the 424-page report released Wednesday paints the image of a congressional office simmering with discontent as Schweikert pondered a Senate run — he publicly considered in 2015 a primary challenge to then-Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — and as Schwab took out his frustrations with Schweikert on other staffers.

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