The House Ethics Committee ordered Republican Arizona Rep. David Schweikert to pay a $50,000 fine Thursday after it found that he had violated 11 House rules on campaign finance and congressional budgets.
The fine marks the end to a two-year investigation which found that Schweikert not only violated House rules, but the Code of Ethics for Government Service and federal laws as well, The New York Times reported.
The committee cited Schweikert for campaign finance violations, misuse of his congressional allowance, pressuring staff members to act on behalf of his campaign and “lack of candor and due diligence,” according to the committee’s press release.
Investigators found that Schweikert’s congressional campaign had accepted over $270,000 from his then-chief of staff, a violation of campaign finance laws. His chief of staff also previously testified that Schweikert had pressured him to fundraise on behalf of the campaign, according to a committee report.
Investigators also found that Schweikert had directed his staff to pay for personal items including food and babysitting services from 2011 to 2018. The costs were then reimbursed with campaign funds, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: Republican Rep Matt Gaetz Violated House Ethics Rules, Politico Reports)
The Ethics Committee also cited Schweikert’s failure to assist in its investigation, saying that he “made vague or misleading statements” to its Investigative Subcommittee that in turn allowed him to “evade the statute of limitations for the most egregious violations of campaign finance laws,” The New York Times reported.
“Efforts like the ones Representative Schweikert undertook to delay and impede the ISC’s investigation were not only highly detrimental to the Committee’s work and reputation of the House, they were themselves sanctionable conduct,” an Ethics Committee supplemental report said.
David Schweikert campaign’s has previously said his trust in his former chief of staff was “grossly misplaced.”
— Dr. Hiral Tipirneni (@hiral4congress) July 30, 2020
“We are pleased the committee has issued their report and we can move forward from this chapter,” said Grace White, the communications director for the congressman, in a statement Thursday.
Schweikert, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, “attempted to cast himself as an unknowing participant or victim” in the allegations, and had tried to lay blame at officials overseeing his campaign, according to the committee’s report.
Investigators were not convinced, writing that they were “not swayed by Representative Schweikert’s attempts to portray himself as the victim of rogue staffers and incompetent compliance professionals,” according to the report.
Schweikert represents Arizona’s 6th Congressional District, a suburban district just north of Scottsdale. He is running for a sixth term, and faces what could be a competitive race, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which rates the race as “lean Republican.”
Schweikert’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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