CREW Seeks Ethics Investigation Following Swearing-In Snafu

Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed papers with the Office of Congressional Ethics seeking an investigation into what it claims are constitutional, legal and rule violations resulting from the first-day-of-the-112th-Congress actions of Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

The two issues for which it is seeking an investigation are Fitzpatrick’s action of what CREW calls “holding a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitor Center” and the votes cast by Fitzpatrick and Sessions, who missed the House swearing-in on Jan. 5 because they were at the Fitzpatrick event, before being formally sworn in by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) the next day.

The Washington Post reports that Fitzpatrick’s office, which did not respond to an earlier request for comment from Metro Weekly, responded to them about today’s CREW request. From the Post:

A spokesperson for Fitzpatrick said the lawmaker welcomes the CREW review.

“The reception held last week in the Capitol Visitors Center was not a fundraiser,” Fitzpatrick spokesperson Darren Smith said. “It was open and free to all comers and held in compliance with the House Ethics Manual.”

As Metro Weekly reported earlier, there was an online “ticket” still available for the event even days later that clearly denoted, “$30.00/PP.” Today’s CREW request goes further, stating that the invitation to the event “lists contribution amounts of $30, $60, $90, $120, and ‘other'” and contains specific “Federal Election Law Compliance” information.

Read the CREW request: 01_12_11 Fitpatrick Sessions Complaint.pdf

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