House Votes to Formally Sanction GOP Rep. David Schweikert for Ethics Violations
PoliticsMimi Nguyen Ly

The House of Representatives on Friday voted to formally sanction Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) for 11 ethics rule violations.

The House vote backs a bipartisan Ethics Committee report (pdf) that recommended a sanction of reprimand and a $50,000 fine that must be paid to the U.S. Treasury by the end of October.

The report is the result of an investigation that concluded there was “substantial reason” to believe that Schweikert had failed to ensure that his campaign committees complied with campaign finance laws, authorized the misuse of his Members’ Representational Allowance for unofficial purposes, pressured official staff to do campaign work, and showed a “lack of candor and due diligence” during the investigation.

Chairman of the House Ethics Committee Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), in calling for Schweikert to be reprimanded by the House on Friday, said on the chamber floor, “One of our most basic obligations as members of Congress is to adhere to the principle that public office is a public trust.”

“To uphold that trust and to maintain civic confidence in the integrity of this body, we as members have bound ourselves by certain standards of official conduct,” Deutch continued.

Schweikert on Thursday admitted to the violations and agreed to pay the fine. In June, he responded to the House committee in a letter (pdf), saying that while he believed he could refute allegations in its draft report against him, he decided to seek a settlement instead “for a variety of reasons.”

“I believe there are a number of assertions, findings, and unfounded speculative statements in the report and its accompanying Statement of Alleged Violations (“SAV”) that would be proven false or misleading if subjected to the scrutiny of a full adjudicatory process,” he wrote in his response. “I have resolved to seek a settlement, in lieu of pursuing a protracted adjudicatory process, for a variety of reasons.”

He later added, “Although the adjudicatory process would provide me an opportunity to challenge aspects of the report and SAV I believe to be misleading, inaccurate, or unfair, it would require financial resources that I do not have and would significantly delay closure for me and my family.”

He also wrote that he agreed with the report’s statement that he is ultimately responsible for ensuring that his congressional office and campaign are compliant with rules and regulations.

“While I may not agree with many of the details contained in the report and SAV, I accept the ISC’s conclusion that I fell short in fulfilling my own responsibilities by not adequately supervising my staff and others working on my behalf,” he wrote.

“This is particularly true with respect to Oliver Schwab, who ran my congressional office and had significant roles in my campaign for much of the time covered in this investigation. As the Report acknowledges, I placed a great of trust in Mr. Schwab to run daily operations and he did so with a great deal of autonomy.”

He added that he should have taken “a greater role in overseeing” Schwab’s activities and the activities of other staff.

“With this settlement, I am prepared to take responsibility and admit to the violations contained in the SAV that resulted from these shortcomings,” he wrote.

The Investigative Subcommittee’s (ISC) final report (pdf) to the Committee on Ethics stated that it was “not swayed by Representative Schweikert’s attempts to portray himself as the victim of rogue staffers and incompetent compliance professionals.”

The ISC in its report cited a news report by the Washington Examiner in 2017 titled “A lot of cash is flowing to David Schweikert’s chief of staff Oliver Schwab.” The allegations sparked the ISC’s two-year-plus investigation into Schweikert and his office’s use of funds, culminating in the ISC report.

In a statement released Thursday, Grace White, a spokeswoman for Schweikert, said he wanted to put the issue behind him.

“We are pleased the committee has issued their report and we can move forward from this chapter,” she said. “As noted in the review, all issues have been resolved and Congressman Schweikert will continue working hard for Arizona’s 6th District.”

The fifth-term Phoenix Republican, who was first elected in 2010, Schweikert is seeking reelection in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District. He will run unopposed in the Republican primary on Aug. 4.

Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times