'Ms. Ethics' Carol Dixon Remembered Fondly (Video)

Carol E. Dixon, director of advice and education for the House Committee on Ethics, died Monday from unknown causes. She was 44.  

Dixon had worked at the committee for 11 years. Family and colleagues described her as an excellent baker, devoted aunt, passionate Michigan football fan and sharp legal mind. The leftovers from her famous Christmas parties were the highlight of every holiday season.  

Dixon found joy in helping members navigate complicated ethical questions. "She wanted everyone to be their best self. … She really wanted to make a difference. That was important to her,” her cousin and close friend Mary Raihman told CQ Roll Call.  

“I think [Dixon] chose ethics because she wanted to be a part of making the institution great and helping particularly young staffers and new members understand the complex rules that they then had to follow,” said Kelle Strickland, chief of staff to Rep. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas. Strickland added that her close colleague was "very generous and trustworthy. She worked on the ethics committee and knew how to keep a secret."  

Stephen Dixon told CQ Roll Call his daughter “really cared about what she did. She cared about ethics and she was proud of what she did. .. [She was] really devoted to making the Congress a better place.”  

Staffers inside and outside the committee say Dixon’s discretion and meticulous attention to detail made her an invaluable counselor and confidant.  

Joanne White, a longtime staff member at the committee, dubbed Dixon "Ms. Ethics."  

“If anybody wanted some information, members wanted to hear from Carol,” White said. “Her job was to save people from making major mistakes. She didn’t want people to get in trouble … whether they wanted to hear it or didn’t want to hear it she gave them honesty and gave them the truth.”  

Coworkers remember her serious approach to her work, softened by her personality and propensity for mentorship.  

John Sassaman, chief counsel and staff director for the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, described Dixon as “a joyous person with a great sense of humor … [and] a very sharp legal mind.” He recalls Dixon going out of her way to resolve complicated issues for members.  

According to her family, Dixon graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. Before moving to Washington, she practiced law at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine. She grew up around Atlanta and remained a lifelong Braves fan.  

Dixon is survived by her father; mother, Janet Woodward; sister, Tiffany Dixon Tufford; brother Corey Dixon; and her beloved niece and nephew, Evan and Emily.

Topics: ethics obituaries