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Barton Paid $25,000 in Legal Fees Related to OCE Probe

An Office of Congressional Ethics review of Rep. Joe Barton (R) and a nonprofit foundation run by his family racked up a $25,000 legal bill for the Texas lawmaker, his office confirmed Friday.

According to his most recent campaign finance report, Barton’s re-election campaign paid $25,000 to the law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in December.

A Barton spokesman, who confirmed the payment was related to the inquiry, said Friday that the OCE closed the investigation in 2009 without taking any action.

“The Office of Congressional Ethics is no longer investigating me,— Barton told the Washington Post in October. “They voted unanimously that there was no ethical misconduct or anything inappropriate done by myself or the Joe Barton Family Foundation.—

The OCE is tasked with reviewing allegations and recommending investigations to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, otherwise known as the ethics committee. It did not forward the Barton inquiry to the ethics committee.

According to his most recent campaign finance report, Barton, who has listed payments to Skadden Arps since December 2006, paid the $25,000 bill in a lump sum.

Federal Election Commission records show Barton previously has paid Skadden Arps $47,800 since December 2006. That total includes about $12,700 in the 2007-08 cycle and $25,600 in 2009, including the most recent payment.

Barton’s political action committee, the Texas Freedom Fund, also paid the firm about $7,000 in the 2007-08 cycle.

During the previous three years, Barton has also made two payments to the law firm Wiley Rein, including $5,000 in October 2008 and nearly $2,000 in March 2009.

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