Matt York / AP
The House unanimously passed a rare ethics resolution on Friday morning to dismiss Deputy David Schweikert, R-Ariz, for violating congressional and campaign finance rules.
Schweikert agreed to pay a $ 50,000 fine and admitted to 11 ethics violations including misuse of official funds.
The House Ethics Committee has been investigating Schweikert, who was elected in 2010, for more than two years. His investigative subcommittee concluded that there was “substantial reason” to believe that Schweikert violated the government’s code of ethics, campaign finance laws and House rules.
Housing investigators concluded that over a seven-year period, Schweikert failed to disclose, or falsely disclose, $ 305,000 in loans or loan repayments and failed to report more than $ 140,000 in mortgage contributions. campaign.
A 13-page report detailing the committee’s investigations and findings indicates that Schweikert’s campaign accepts more than $ 270,000 from his chief of staff, Richard Schwab, who is a breach of campaign finance laws.
A statement issued Thursday by the Ethics Committee also said Schweikert misused his congressional allowance for “unofficial purposes” and pressured “official staff to carry out fieldwork.”
The findings say Schweikert made “vague or misleading comments” that “allow him to evade the statue of limitations for the most egregious breaches of campaign finance laws.”
The report continued: “Efforts such as those of Rep. Schweikert undertook to delay and impede the report. [investigative subcommittee] investigation were not only very detrimental to the work of the committee and the reputation of the House, but they themselves were sanctioned for misconduct. “
Rep guilty of breach of trust
In a speech to the House on Friday morning, Ethics Committee Representative Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Highlighted the consequence of breaking public trust.
“One of our most basic obligations as members of Congress is to adhere to the principle that a public office is public trust. To maintain that trust, and to maintain civic trust in the integrity of this body, we as members we have bound ourselves by certain official standards of conduct, “he said.
Deutch went on to urge congressional members and staff to approach the committee if they have questions about ethics to “avoid mistakes like those made by Rep. Schweikert.”
“The committee’s non-partisan advisory staff is always available to answer any questions related to ethics, to have special training sessions for members and staff in addition to the annual ethics training and to issue advisory opinions on request, “he said.
Schweikert presented a response to the committee saying that while he thought he could reject some allegations, he decided to settle because the process “was time-consuming and costly.”
The House rebuke is a big blow to Schweikert, who is facing a tough race in Arizona’s 6th competitive district, covering Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Four Democrats will face in the August 4 primary.
Schweikert’s best Democratic opponent, Dr Hiral Tipirneni, said Schweikert had “abused his power and betrayed public trust.”
As NPR KJZZ member station Steve Goldstein reports, Schweikert was already expected to face an intense challenge, in part because the electorate wants to see increased action in the fight against racial injustice.