Welcome to the Checks & Imbalances newsletter. Today, we take a look at a few members of Congress facing ethics investigations as well as Trump’s DC hotel successor.
House Ethics Office: ‘Substantial Reason to Believe’ Two Members of Congress Violated Ethics Laws
JThe House Congressional Ethics Office found “substantial reasons to believe” that Congressmen Pat Fallon (R-Texas) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.) violated House ethics rules for failing to disclose stock trades in a timely manner, according to documents released Tuesday.
Investigations into possible violations have been forwarded to the bipartisan House Committee on Ethics for further review. Unlike the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Ethics Office, this 10-member panel has the power to subpoena and discipline House members.
The office’s board was split over similar allegations against Rep. Chris Jacobs (RN.Y.).
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, requires representatives to report securities transactions to the House Clerk’s Office within 45 days. Fallon failed to file timely disclosures for 122 transactions valued at more than $9 million between January and December 2021, according to the report. Between January 2017 and December 2021, Rutherford belatedly disclosed 157 transactions worth at least $652,000, according to the House Ethics Office. Both members of Congress declined to be interviewed by investigators.
A lawyer for Fallon and Rutherford, Kate Belinski, acknowledged lawmakers were late in disclosing their trades. But she called the queries “unnecessary” in responses to the reports, citing “taxpayer expense and administrative burden.” Belinski asked the House panel to reject the dismissal, noting that members of Congress had already paid fines.
Those fines were $600 for Fallon and $800 for Rutherford, according to the ethics office. He said Rutherford’s penalty was calculated incorrectly, while Fallon did not provide enough information to assess the accuracy of his fine.
The panel did not release a report on Jacobs, but it did release its response to the inquiry, which provided information about the allegations. These are government securities, as well as shares acquired as part of a corporate split and merger.
“Congressman Jacobs takes compliance and transparency seriously and, as such, has proactively filed the periodic transaction reports in question and worked with the House Ethics Committee to pay the applicable fine. “, a spokesperson said in a statement. “The congressman looks forward to the committee meeting in person to complete his review and resolve this matter.”
In April, the committee revealed that it had launched separate investigations into Fallon and Rutherford, who is a member of the ethics committee. At the time, the committee did not provide any details on the investigations, saying only that it would announce an action plan by May 31. Last week, the panel revealed it was investigating Rep. Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.) for allegedly engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a staff member and promoting a cryptocurrency in which he had an undue interest. disclosed. The committee also revealed last month that the Ethics Office had found “substantial reasons to believe” Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) had spent campaign funds on personal expenses.
Details of an investigation into Rep. Tom Suozzi (DN.Y.) are expected to be released by July 29.
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Updates on previous Checks & Imbalances reports
“Outgoing Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) revealed on Friday that he sold over $250,000 of the Let’s Go Brandon meme cryptocurrency on Dec. 31, 2021, the day it saw its peak market value,” reported the Washington Examiner. “Less than a month later, the coin meme had lost 100% of its value.”
The House Ethics Committee has previously announced that it is investigating Cawthorn for allegedly promoting a cryptocurrency in which he had an undisclosed interest (as well as engaging in an improper relationship with a staff member).
“In March, a jury swiftly and finally convicted then-U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) of two counts of lying to federal agents and one count of attempted concealment. from the source of $30,000 in dirty campaign funds,” reports the Omaha World-Herald. “Now the former Nebraska congressman wants those convictions overturned.”
Even before he was charged, Fortenberry had paid $80,000 in campaign money to defense attorneys.
“A year-and-a-half-long investigation by the House Ethics Committee into alleged spending of campaign and congressional money and misuse of his office by Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss .) is not expected to yield results, said an attorney for the class who filed the original lawsuit against the congressman,” reports the Bugle register.
Palazzo’s campaign spent at least $61,000 in legal fees related to the investigation.
Top golfer Johnson joins Trump, Saudi-backed tournament – Skipping PGA event – And upsetting sponsor
In a move likely inspired by massive payouts from LIV Golf backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, “former A-list golfer Dustin Johnson will be taking part in the first LIV Golf event next week, the budding contender has announced. PGA Tour on Tuesday night,” Derek Saul reports:
Former President Donald Trump is intimately involved with LIV Golf, as his National Doral Golf Club in Miami will host LIV Golf’s final 2022 tournament in October. Trump posted in favor of the new league on his TruthSocial platform last week, according to Golf.com, writing that the PGA has “benefited from players for many years” and that “LIV can change that!”
The Waldorf Astoria Washington DC, which replaced Trump’s hotel in the old post office, opened on Wednesday, according to a press release from Hilton, the brand’s parent company.
Hilton’s reservations website accepts overnight stays, although your correspondent abandoned the reservation process when you were asked to enter a credit card for a $1,700/night stay (an exercise I will repeat gladly if a publisher cares to provide me with a corporate credit card).
According to its website, the detrompification of the hotel appears to have been minimal so far: the Ivanka Trump Suite is now, quite simply, the “bi-level loft with library” while the Trump Townhouse has been renamed Waldorf Townhouse. For dining options, Sushi Nakazawa, the Michelin-starred restaurant in the basement of the building, is now joined by Peacock Alley, a spin-off of a restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria New York.
If you’re curious about how the transition works for groups that had booked stays at the Trump International Hotel, only for it to no longer exist, here’s an email the National Shooting Sports Foundation sent out Monday regarding its conference. annual import/export in August:
As some of you may have heard, the Trump International Hotel has been sold to Hilton Hotels. While the venue has changed hands and is now called Waldorf Astoria Washington DC, the NSSF® Annual Import/Export Conference will take place at the same time and place. Advance pricing will be extended until June 17 to allow those who have been waiting to make reservations to secure a room. Reservations already made will be transferred from Trump to Waldorf Astoria.
- “Trump just appealed the dismissal of his federal case against NYAG Tish James for ‘unlawfully’ investigating him.” (Twitter/Reporter Liz Dye)
- “US Oversight is suing the National Archives for communications and documents related to Trump files recovered from Mar-a-Lago” (US Oversight)
- “James Biden – Presidential Brother, Caregiver, Political Wildcard” (The Washington Post)
- “Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker failed for months to bring in millions in revenue” (Insider)
- “These 25 companies waving the rainbow flag have donated $13 million to anti-gay politicians since 2021” (Popular Information)
- “Super PACs Spend Record $1 Million in Wyo’s US House Race” (The Wyoming Tribune Eagle)
- “Ethical Issues Cloud Zinke’s SEAL PAC” (roll call)
- ‘Owner of beleaguered Ukrainian steel mill adds PR help, Ferox signs Qatar’ (Politico)
- “Former congressional candidate pleads guilty to wire fraud and falsifying documents” (DoJ)
- “Ted Cruz complains about the ‘elite’ using bodyguards. He’s one of them. (The Daily Beast)
- “Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) asked the FEC to issue an advisory opinion on the use of campaign funds to pay for child care when traveling for campaign events (not necessarily his own ) or at the request of foreign governments/entities in his capacity as a Member of Parliament” (Twitter/Taylor Giorno of OpenSecrets)
- “Billionaire Ken Griffin has now contributed $50 million to Richard Irvin’s gubernatorial campaign” (The Chicago Tribune)
- “Spending billionaires are shaking up politics. The Los Angeles mayoral race is the final test. (Policy)
- “Conversely, EPA Deems Pruitt’s Phone Booth a ‘Violation'” (E&E News)
- “Where did the Hill offices eat last quarter? We did the calculations. ” (Policy)
please tell me now
Is there anything I should know
– Duran Duran, “Is there anything I should know?”