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Ethics Board Recommends Investigation of Crowley

An aide to Rep. Joe Crowley confirmed Tuesday that the Office of Congressional Ethics has recommended that the House ethics committee investigate the New York Democrat’s fundraising efforts in advance of the 2009 financial reform vote. The OCE also recommended investigations of two Republican lawmakers on similar allegations.

The OCE, which reviews potential rules violations and recommends investigations to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, conducted a probe of eight lawmakers, including Crowley, who held fundraisers in December 2009 before the financial reform legislation was approved in the House that month.

The office recommended investigations of Crowley and GOP Reps. Tom Price (Ga.) and John Campbell (Calif.).

The OCE closed its inquiry and recommended that the ethics committee take no further action on five other Members it had probed: Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Chris Lee (R-N.Y.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Mel Watt (D-N.C.).

Crowley denied any wrongdoing in a statement issued by a spokeswoman Tuesday afternoon: “Congressman Crowley has always complied with the letter and spirit of all rules regarding fundraising and standards of conduct.”

In separate statements earlier Tuesday, Price and Campbell expressed confusion about the OCE’s actions and said the allegations lacked evidence.

“How the OCE arrived at their recommendation is truly a mystery,” Price said in a statement. “There being no evidence of any wrongdoing or any inconsistency in my policy position, one can only guess as to the motive behind their decision or even why they chose to initiate a review in the first place.”

Campbell said he was “perplexed” by the OCE’s decision to refer the inquiry to the ethics committee.

“As one of Congress’s most outspoken critics of the earmark system and the waste and corruption it engenders, I have worked to make Congress more transparent and accountable to the American taxpayer,” Campbell said in his statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unfounded.”

Jackie Kucinich contributed to this report.

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