House Ethics Committee names working group to combat outside work conflicts

The bipartisan group will oversee lawmakers, officers and employees who serve in positions outside federal government

Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., will lead the working group with Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas. (CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan working group has been formed by the House Ethics Committee to examine what types of service or positions outside of Congress could result in conflicts of interest and to craft proposed regulations for the committee’s consideration that govern those pursuits.

UNITED STATES - November 10: Van Taylor, candidate for Texas' 3rd Congressional district, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call at their D.C. office, November 10, 2017. (Photo by Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).
Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, will lead the working group along with Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa.. (CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., and Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, will comprise the group that will focus on creating regulations that oversee lawmakers, officers and employees who work or serve in positions outside of the federal government.

"In Texas, I was proud to work with Governor Abbott and pass the most significant ethics reform in a generation," Taylor said in an emailed statement. "Now in Congress, I’m eager to continue this bipartisan effort to give the people more confidence in their government."

The announcement from the House Ethics Committee cites a new clause in the Code of Conduct, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, that states no member, delegate, resident commissioner, officer, or employee of the House can serve as an officer or director of any public company. The clause was created by House Resolution 6 and requires the House Ethics Committee to develop regulations on prohibited service or positions by Dec. 31, 2019.

The establishment of the working group harkens back to the case of New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins, who was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged insider trading involving the Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics.

Collins served on the company’s board of directors while representing New York’s 27th District. There is a House Ethics investigative subcommittee inquiry into Collins that is waiting for the conclusion of a separate, upcoming federal district court trial for Collins slated for February 2020 in New York City.

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