The Arizona Republican agreed to pay the fine and admitted to the violation, which came from negotiations with former assistant Oliver Schwab.
“We are pleased that the Committee has issued their report and we can move forward with this chapter,” a spokesman for Schweikert wrote in a statement not addressing the substance of the findings. “As noted in the review, all issues have been resolved and Congressman Schweikert will continue to work hard for Arizona 6th District. ”
The dismissal from the Ethics board ends a lengthy – and sometimes contentious – investigation into Schweikert’s payments to a consulting firm that has been owned by his chief of staff for a long time. The committee had created a special investigative subpanel to lead the Schweikert probe and detailed the misconduct in a 13-page report.
Over two years, that subcommittee interviewed 18 people, including previous and current congress and campaign staff. She issued four citations and said Schweikert sometimes gave her “untrue testimony” and “self-serving statements” that went beyond “minor pencils” or slight differences from the testimony of others.
“Efforts such as those of Representative Schweikert undertook to delay and impede the ISC’s investigation which were not only severely detrimental to the work of the Committee and the reputation of the House, but were themselves sanctioned for misconduct. , “the report says.
Among the biggest findings from the Ethics board is that Schkweirt paid more than $ 270,000 to a firm whose sole employee is Schwab over seven years, violating the external revenue cap for congressional assistants elderly. Schwab left his congressional job in 2018 after seven years. That same year, the aid also repaid the campaign by more than $ 50,000.
The Ethics board considered a House-level censorship sanction, one of the most severe types of reprimand against a member. But the group ultimately sought less sanction, “largely due to congressional willingness to accept responsibility and the agreement to pay a substantial monetary fine.”
The investigation into Schweikert and Schwab emerged from a complaint filed with Congress ethics watchdog, the Congressional Ethics Office, following reports in the Washington Examiner.
Schweikert had previously insisted that the issue was one of inaccurate bureaucracy, rather than a breach of ethics.
“This is purely clerical,” Schweikert said in 2018. “We buy coffee, it ‘s over [Schwab’s] Credit card and we will refund it. And when they made the refunds, they marked it as income instead of a refund. So we know we have to let go of all that. “
The punishment of ethics could be a major problem for Schweikert’s re-election, whose Phoenix suburban seat had already been observed by Democrats who entered in November.
Donald Trump won the district by 10 points in 2016, but operators on both sides admit he could be vulnerable because of his disastrous fundraising and ethics problems. And the House Democrats fabricated a well-funded challenger to take on Schweikert.
His most formidable Democratic opponent is Hiral Tipirneni, an emergency room doctor who ran in the 2018 special election in a neighboring district.
She wants to beat three other Democrats in the August 4 primary, but Tipirneni has by far the most resources, with $ 1.6 million in the bank by the end of June. Schweikert had less than $ 240,000.
Ally Mutnick contributed to this report.