Politics

Ethics Panel Announces Investigation Into Rep. Schweikert and Chief of Staff

Oliver Schwab allegedly exceeded outside earned income for senior staff

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., is facing an Ethics Committee investigation into payments to his chief of staff, Oliver Schwab. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee is reviewing an Office of Congressional Ethics referral to investigate Rep. David Schweikert and Oliver Schwab, his chief of staff.

Schwab has allegedly been paid by the Arizona Republican’s campaign beyond the limit for outside earned income for senior congressional staffers.

The OCE reviews possible ethics violations by House members and their staff and only refers cases to the Ethics Committee when there is substantial evidence a violation may have occurred.

A request for review filed with the OCE in February claimed that Schwab, who has worked in Schweikert’s office since 2011, was running a consulting firm to help his boss’s campaign and that Schwab raked in $148,315 in consulting fees and an additional $57,946 in travel fees since 2014 through that firm.

Federal Election Commission records show that in 2014, Schwab’s firm, Chartwell Associates, brought in $109,500 from his boss’ campaign committees — more than quadrupling the $26,955 ceiling on outside income that senior staffers can earn.

Schwab told the Washington Examiner in November that Chartwell is a one-man shop.

“Anytime you see Chartwell, that’s Oliver Schwab,” he said at the time.

Schwab has reimbursed Schweikert’s campaign committees $50,000 over the course of nine payments this year amid the inquiries into his outside income, FEC records show.

Neither Schweikert’s office nor Schwab could immediately be reached for comment on the Ethics panel’s announcement.

The committee began looking into the complaint against Schweikert and Schwab in April, after which it had 45 days to make the review public.

It has until Nov. 14 to announce its next “course of action” in its review of Schweikert, which could include establishing an investigatory subcommittee.

The committee did not specify a deadline for Schwab’s review, although the cutoff point to make the OCE report public would customarily be 45 days after the initial announcement that the committee has received the referral.

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