House Ethics Committee extends investigation of Roskam
BY LYNN SWEET Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief September 11, 2013 3:54PM
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.)
Updated: September 13, 2013 7:16AM
WASHINGTON–The House Committee on Ethics on Wednesday announced it is extending and pursuing its own investigation of Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). While the panel did not specify what is at issue, earlier this year Roskam disclosed it was over the funding of an October, 2011 trip to Taiwan he took with his wife–at a time his daughter was living in Taiwan.
The committee announced last July it was looking into allegations about Roskam forwarded to the panel by the independent, non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics on June 13. Roskam took the unusual step of releasing the documents relating to the investigation, highlighting the approval he had from the ethics committee to accept the free travel.
In a brief statement, the committee said the “further review does not itself indicate” any violations occurred or reflect “any judgement on behalf of the committee.”
The committee at this stage could have opted to drop the matter. The committee also declined to empanel a special investigative committee, which would have taken it a step further than it did.
At issue is whether the $25,652 costs for the trip were paid for by the Chinese Culture University–a permitted funder — or as the independent Office of Congressional Ethics asserts, the Roskam visit was “organized and conducted by the government of Taiwan, with little to no involvement by the University,” which would make it an impermissible funding source.
Roskam is the Chief Deputy Whip, a top member of the House GOP leadership team. Roskam’s office released documents associated with the investigation and said Roskam has done nothing wrong and got advance permission for the trip. Roskam has retained the law firm of Patton Boggs to represent him and has been paying the firm through his campaign fund.
The eight-member House ethics panel divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans.