House Ethics Committee Orders Republican Rep. McMorris Rodgers to Return $7,500 in Misused Funds

Prior to the close of 2019, the House Ethics Committee concluded its 5-year investigation on how the staffers in Rep, McMorris Rodgers office made improper use of campaign funds and official resources! including staff time, travel funds and congressional office space in carrying out political activities. According the Ethics Committee Report, poor record keeping and “sloppy practices” dating as far back as 2008 had contributed to the improper use of campaign funds.

In light of the findings, the panel chaired by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, imposed sanctions on Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, ordering her to pay over $7,500 as reimbursement of the misused government funds, including payments for official consultants using campaign funds, as well as accepting voluntary services for political purposes.

The extensive documents compiled reflected a “concerning pattern” of how the staffers in the office of Representative McMorris Rodgers frequently demonstrated indifference to the laws under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and the rules and regulations set forth in House Rule XXIII. House Rule XXII of the House Code of Official Conduct,

What the FECA Laws and Rules Describe as Proper Use of Campaign Funds and Resources

The House Rules state that Campaign Funds, which include goods and services procured with campaign funds, are separate from the official resources available to congressional members. House rules govern campaign funds including those allotted for state or local elections. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) on the other hand, governs campaign funds used for election to a federal office.

Primarily, a House Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner shall keep campaign funds separate from personal funds; nor in any manner convert campaign funds for personal use even if said amount represents excess of a legitimate and verifiable use for campaign purposes. Basically campaign funds cover only bona fide political or campaign expenditures.

Moreover, there are certain exceptions and limitations that must be observed if ever campaign funds will be used for official House purposes.