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Ethics Panel Studies Allegations Against Three House Members

The House ethics committee confirmed Wednesday that it is reviewing allegations against Reps. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Tom Price (R-Ga.) and John Campbell (R-Calif.), each of whom has faced questions tied to their respective fundraising efforts in advance of the 2009 financial reform vote.

In a brief statement issued Wednesday, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct said it would announce its “course of action” in the cases by Jan. 29.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, which reviews potential rules violations and refers matters to the ethics committee, reviewed the fundraising activities of eight lawmakers who held fundraisers in December 2009 before the financial reform legislation was approved in the House that month.

The OCE closed its inquiry in August 2010 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, Price and Campbell have each denied wrongdoing and have questioned the OCE’s decision to open its investigation.

The ethics committee could opt to dismiss the investigation, although it would still be required to release the OCE’s report on its work, which could include documents and summaries of interviews. The ethics panel may also vote to open its own investigation, which would delay the release of those documents for up to one year.

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