The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating whether Rep. Alex X. Mooney misspent campaign funds on personal pursuits and failed to properly report required information in his Federal Election Commission filings, according to a source familiar with the inquiry and related documents.
The inquiry, which began in March, asks for information about the West Virginia Republican’s $49,000 worth of campaign spending on resorts, meal purchases, car expenses and other expenses that CQ Roll Call reported on in October.
The OCE is also looking into expenditures made by the campaign at St. James Parish and St. Zita’s gift shop at the parish in Charles Town, W.Va., the lawmaker's hometown. Mooney’s campaign has spent over $19,000 since 2018 at St. James and St. Zita’s, according to campaign finance disclosures. Further, thousands in reimbursements Mooney received from his campaign, Alex Mooney for Congress, are under scrutiny. In 2020, four payments were made to Mooney from his campaign for over $2,500 with no disbursement description.
William Beaman, a spokesperson for OCE, declined to comment.
Dirk Haire, an attorney at Fox Rothschild and the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, is listed as a designated point of contact for Mooney regarding the OCE investigation. He did not respond to a request for comment. (Mooney is also a former chairman of the Maryland GOP and was a state senator there before moving to West Virginia and running for Congress.)
Members are prohibited by federal law and House rules from spending campaign money for personal use.
Mooney’s campaign spent over $6,100 on travel at resorts and hotels in the Mountain State, including expenditures at Smoke Hole Caverns and Log Cabin Resort, Ace Adventure Resort and Canaan Valley Resort. Ace Adventure Resort offers whitewater rafting, a water park, rock climbing and all-terrain vehicle tours. Canaan Valley Resort provides skiing, snowboarding and golf. Smoke Hole Caverns and Log Cabin Resort has guided hunting and fishing tours.
Mooney also spent more than $1,900 in campaign money at Chick-fil-A over the course of 53 transactions, many of which took place near his residence. Additionally, he spent more than $4,500 at Rooster’s Amish Shed on three equipment purchases in 2018.
If the OCE has a substantial reason to believe that a violation occurred, it can refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee for further review. The Ethics Committee — unlike OCE — can discipline members and determine whether a violation occurred.
Tom Rust, a spokesperson for the Ethics panel, declined to comment.