Dec. 25, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
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Ethics Office Investigates C Street Residence

At an April campaign event with Coburn in Wichita, Kan., Moran was asked about the CREW complaint. He described the C Street house as a place where Members gather for Bible study, and he said, “It became a residence of mine several years ago. I rent a room there with other colleagues and moved my bed in and share a bathroom with other folks.”

Moran added, “I’ve never even showered at C Street.”

Moran has said he believes the complaint is groundless, and he said at the Wichita event: “I do believe that there are those people that want to make certain that one’s religious faith is not something that is mingled with their public service. ... My public service is clearly related to my beliefs as a Christian.”

Ethics lawyer C. Simon Davidson, who is a contributing writer for Roll Call, said “the fundamental issue is, ‘Did they receive a gift?’ In order to determine whether they received a gift, you would need to determine whether they received disproportionately more than what they paid for.” In short, did the Members pay a fair price for their lodging?

But Davidson pointed out, “The difficulty is that it is not clear that there is really a fair market value for this type of thing. It is such an unusual living arrangement,” more akin to a rooming house than a normal hotel or apartment building.

When the OCE opens an investigation, the office may review a matter for up to three months. After that, the OCE must refer to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct a recommendation for further review or dismissal.

But if the OCE abandons an investigation after the first 30 days of an inquiry, it is not required to issue a report to the ethics panel, and the probe is not released to the public.

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