Andrews told OCE interviewers that he believed the trip to be a bona fide campaign expense because the individual getting married was part of a group of people that he "tried to cultivate" relationships with who might be of professional benefit in the future.
"My thought was that, you know, enriching and broadening this relationship would make him more likely to help me in the future if I asked him, or help the leadership PAC if I asked him," Andrews said during an OCE interview.
The OCE report also describes a party held at the Andrews residence last summer to celebrate both his campaign and his daughter's high school graduation. Some of the costs for the event were billed to the Andrews for Congress campaign.
Andrews also took at least six trips to Los Angeles last year with his daughter, which were covered by his campaign account and the leadership PAC. Though his daughter told a witness she was there to do "some music recording," Andrews said she was there because she was "old enough to be helpful with some of the things that campaign volunteers usually do."
Along with the statement released today, Andrews provided reporters with a legal summary of his defense. It emphasizes that the money in question was from political campaign accounts and not taxpayer funds, that the case originated based on allegations made by political adversaries and that candidates' families often attend campaign-related events. Even so, Andrews made the "political judgment" to return funds used for the wedding to avoid even the perception of wrongdoing, the background information said.
The committee's review of the case will continue as a Rule 18(a) investigation, a preliminary stage of inquiry that allows it to gather information until a formal investigative subcommittee has been formed. It is the final time the committee will likely comment on the matter unless it empanels a subcommittee or dismisses the case.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.