Rep. Paul Broun, the Georgia Republican who lost a Senate primary in May, is being investigated for alleged ethics violations.
The House Ethics Committee revealed Monday that it is reviewing the alleged misconduct, without disclosing the reason for the probe. Next steps for the case involving the departing , three-term congressman will be announced on or before Oct. 29.
“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” the statement reads. The quasi-independent Office of Congressional Ethics referred the Ethics Committee on July 31, but only on Monday was Broun's name made public. The office would not discuss the nature of the ethics inquiries, but the referral means there is substantial reason to believe they found a problem.
Broun's office did not immediately respond to an inquiry from CQ Roll Call.
Previously published reports by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and local Georgia media may provide some context.
In March 2014, a reporter from WSB-TV 2 in Atlanta confronted Broun, 68, about payments of more than $33,000 to campaign and debate coach Brett O’Donnell, of O’Donnell and Associates, from his office budget.
O'Donnell was a top aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., during her 2012 presidential run, and also served as a debate coach for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.
In 2012, CREW filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging the Broun campaign had violated campaign finance law by failing to accurately disclose the source of the loans made to his campaign committee from 2007-2008. Broun's campaign committee later corrected the record.
Citing the statute of limitations, the FEC dismissed the complaint on March 6, finding no reason to believe that Broun violated the law.
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