An investigation into whether Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) “had an improper relationship with one of his aides was dropped after it was disclosed that he has been married to the staffer since January 2019,” Politico reports.
An ethics panel found former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) violated the state’s constitutional gift ban by accepting private flights aboard company jets owned by his friends and during an overseas trip, the Colorado Sun reports.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) told the Washington Post that he has asked Senate Ethics Committee for review of his recent stock sales, made after he had private briefings on the coronavirus pandemic.
Burr said he relied solely on public news reports on the sales.
The Hill: “Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) is set to retire in approximately a month, creating an opening atop the Senate Ethics Committee, a behind-the-scenes panel responsible for enforcing standards of behavior for senators and their staffs and investigating potential violations of federal law or the Senate’s rules.”
“But GOP senators who spoke with The Hill, including current members of the committee, had a nearly universal response when asked if they wanted to take over the Ethics Committee: Thanks, but no thanks.”
A high-ranking House Democrat said Saturday it’s “quite likely” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) will face an ethics investigation over allegations that he met with an ex-Ukrainian official to obtain information about former vice president Joe Biden and his son, the Washington Post reports.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was asked whether Nunes could face a House inquiry.
Said Smith: “Quite likely, without question.”
Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) admitted she had an “inappropriate” relationship with a campaign staffer, but denied a report of an affair with her legislative director, Fox News reports.
Former State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert reported in her termination financial disclosure report that she received $167,000 in salary payments from Fox News while she was working in government.
CREW: “If Nauert’s termination financial disclosure report is correct, the salary payments are problematic because the White House gave her an ethics waiver that authorized her to meet, interview, and communicate with 21st Century Fox employees.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) faces an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee for a tweet that appeared to threaten President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen with blackmail, Roll Call reports.
“The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it would establish an investigative subcommittee to review whether the Florida Republican, a staunch ally of the president, sought to intimidate Cohen before he testified before the House Oversight and Reform panel. The Ethics Committee had sought an interview with Gaetz, but he declined, triggering the investigation.”
“The head of Georgia’s ethics commission has filed a spate of subpoenas targeting groups led by Stacey Abrams and the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, prompting criticism that he’s trying to exact political revenge against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s political opponents,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General has opened an investigation into whether six of President Trump’s appointees have violated federal ethics rules by engaging with their former employers or clients on department-related business,” the Washington Post reports.
“The Interior Department’s internal watchdog has opened an investigation into ethics complaints against the agency’s newly installed secretary, David Bernhardt,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries, was confirmed by the Senate last week to head the agency.”
“The U.S. government’s top ethics watchdog has ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated his ethics agreement by inaccurately reporting stock holdings in his 2018 financial disclosure form,” the Washington Post reports.
“Ross — one of the wealthiest members of President Trump’s Cabinet — did not sell stock he held in a bank, despite reporting otherwise.l
“The Justice Department’s public integrity section is examining whether newly departed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lied to his agency’s inspector general investigators, according to three people familiar with the matter, a potential criminal violation that would exacerbate Zinke’s legal woes,” the Washington Post reports.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) “introduced an ethics reform package of bills that included proposals to require presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their income tax returns and ban members of Congress from ever becoming paid lobbyists,” the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
Said Sasse: “Drain the swamp for real. Both parties talk a big game on the campaign trail, but then look the other way as soon as they get a taste of power.”
Gallup: “A majority of Americans say President Trump’s ethical standards are lower than those of each of six U.S. presidents elected in the past 50 years. Less than half say Trump’s ethics are lower than Richard Nixon’s, but the 43% saying this still outweighs the 37% who say Trump’s ethics are higher than Nixon’s.”
“Texas Democrats targeting Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) in Houston are challenging nearly $50,000 in campaign spending since 2004 on books, coins, Civil War memorabilia and other collectibles, some reported as ‘donor gifts’,” the Houston Chronicle reports.
“Draft copies of complaints to the Federal Election Commission and the independent Office of Congressional Ethics question the expenses in light of Culberson’s personal interest in military history.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)” wants to ban members of Congress and the White House staff from owning individual stocks — and replace them with government-managed investment accounts,” CNBC reports.
“Those are just two of the dozens of proposals dotting the Massachusetts Democrat’s sweeping new legislative package, the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, which she unveiled Tuesday. Warren said the bill is designed to ‘eliminate the influence of money in federal government.'”
Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) “is the subject of two separate investigations by the House Ethics Committee and Office of Congressional Ethics, including questions over whether his drinking impacted the Virginia Republican’s ability to do his job,” Politico reports.
“Investigators are looking into allegations that Garrett and his wife improperly ordered congressional aides to conduct personal errands for them while on official time. These errands allegedly included picking up groceries, chauffeuring Garrett’s daughters to and from his Virginia district, fetching clothes that the congressman forgot at his Washington apartment, or even cleaning up after his dog.”
”Garrett’s use of alcohol or other substances is a focus of both probes as well.”