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Ethics Panel Won’t Investigate Rehberg Aide in Elk Killing

The House ethics committee voted Wednesday not to investigate an aide to Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) who is accused of illegally killing an elk, deferring to a pending state trial on the matter.

According to the ethics panel’s report, Montana state authorities charged Rehberg aide Randy Vogel in March with “the alleged illegal killing of a spike bull elk during closed hunting season and related charges.”

The incident occurred in November 2009, before Vogel joined Rehberg’s staff in March. Vogel, who has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges, is on leave without pay pending the outcome of the trial, the ethics committee report states.

Whenever a Member or House employee is indicted or otherwise charged with criminal conduct, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly known as the ethics committee, is required to either empanel an investigative subcommittee or issue a report detailing its decision not to do so.

“A state trial will occur soon to address the merits of the criminal charges against Mr. Vogel, which occurred prior to his employment with the House, and which he disputes,” the ethics committee report states. “The Standards Committee has determined not to initiate review at this time by an investigative subcommittee in this matter in light of these circumstances.”

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