The OCE said that “HSP Direct’s payment for the Mooney family vacation, totaling at least $10,803.65 in travel, lodging, meals, amenities, entertainment and activities, is likely a prohibited gift under the rules. of the House”. Additionally, Mooney also “likely violated House rules and federal law when he enlisted his congressional staff to plan the Aruba vacation for his family at official time using official resources.”
HSP Direct is a direct mail fundraising company, which Mooney hired and paid for direct marketing ($60,688 from Mooney’s campaign committees to HSP Direct since 2020), the OCE said. Mooney has also received substantial campaign contributions from HSP Direct and its directors, according to OCE. Jamie Hogan, CEO of HSP Direct, and his wife have donated at least $28,100 to Mooney’s campaign committees since 2016, the OCE said. HSP’s attorney said Hogan and Mooney had been close friends for years.
When congressional staff and HSP Direct inquired about the involvement (or lack of involvement) of the House Ethics Committee in approving the trip to Aruba, Mooney dismissed them and continued the trip. without consulting the ethics committee, according to the OCE report.
Mooney and his wife, Grace Mooney, relied heavily on an assistant the report identifies as a former Staff 2 member to handle the logistics involved in transporting Mooney’s family of five to Aruba, including related obstacles. to COVID-19, the OCE said. This former Mooney staffer described the hours of work leading up to the March 6, 2021 departure.
The staff member worked to set up the COVID-19 tests required to enter Aruba, obtain travel visas for Mooney, Grace and their children, and purchase travel insurance. The day before the trip, the former Mooney staffer said he got home around 6 p.m. and worked with Grace until 11 p.m. to ensure the proper documentation was ready for the trip.