Top Republican Ordered to Pay Back Treasury Department

For more than five years, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ offices exhibited a concerning pattern of using both taxpayer money and unofficial resources inappropriately and an indifference to laws governing the use of those resources, a House Ethics Committee report found Thursday, leading the panel to reprove her and force her to pay the Treasury Department back $7,575.

The Ethics panel found that the Washington Republican provided inappropriate compensation for consultant services from 2012 to 2017. She defrayed the cost of official services she got from the consultants with either political funds or the consultants’ voluntary provision of services, acts that are in violation of House rules because they incorporated unofficial office accounts. Further, Rodgers used official money for consultant services that would have been a violation of rules restricting the use of the office budget, known as the Members’ Representational Allowance, but the funds used to pay consultants were largely paid for by her House leadership office, which is not subject to the same regulations. This is a shortcoming that the committee discovered in leadership offices, and it referred the issue to the chamber’s inspector general.

Jared Powell, a spokesperson for McMorris Rodgers, said the initial complaint started with an unhappy former employee.

“Over the course of six years and four congresses, the Congresswoman and her staff voluntarily cooperated with the Committee in full, as it noted in its report, producing 66,500 pages of documents and submitting to over 30 witness interview requests. We are pleased that the Committee has ended its review and we can finally put this matter behind us,” Powell said in a statement.

Read more at Roll Call.

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