Rep. Mike Thompson spent almost $25,000 on legal fees relating to an ethics investigation regarding his advocacy for grape growers in his district. The Office of Congressional Ethics determined there was no need for further review.
A similar omission of reportable positions landed Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) before the OCE and the House Ethics Committee. Buchanan amended his disclosure forms in September to add previously unreported positions. The committee announced last week that it will continue investigating the matter without forming an investigative subcommittee.
Fleming’s office declined to comment on the legal expenditures, discuss whether they are related to the amended financial disclosures or address whether he has been involved in any investigation. Both Buchanan and Fleming are being represented by Patton Boggs.
As Roll Call has previously reported, the campaign accounts of Meeks and Richardson continue to pay the costs associated with unresolved ethics inquiries.
During the last three months of 2011, the Meeks campaign paid $17,240 to four different law firms, including $7,000 to Perkins Coie, the firm known to be handling his ethics matters. The New York Democrat is the subject of an ongoing Ethics Committee probe related to a $40,000 loan he received but did not properly disclose.
Though the Richardson for Congress campaign reported paying minimal legal expenses in October, November and December, it reported legal debts that surpassed $125,000, according to its most recent filing. The House Ethics Committee voted in November to begin a formal investigation into whether the California Democrat compelled her Hill staffers to attend campaign events, run personal errands and work on her re-election effort in violation of Congressional ethics rules. Politico reported last week that the committee is also questioning whether she required staff to work on redistricting efforts.
Legal expenses also trail lawmakers and candidates once they are no longer in or running for office.
The campaign account of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) continues to show sizable legal outlays though he resigned in June following a sexting scandal. The campaign paid $13,290 in the fourth quarter to T&M Protection Resources, a firm that provides “seamlessly integrated security and investigative services, including state-of-the-art security technologies, to leading corporations, organizations and private clients.” The campaign also paid $1,373 to the law firm Baker Hostetler.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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