A decade of campaign finance violations have caught up to the number three Republican in the House, Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington state, as the House Ethics Committee has sanctioned her for repeated violations of House rules.
The committee's extraordinarily long review described "sloppy practices" and record keeping stretching back to 2008, which contributed to the improper use of campaign funds. The Ethics Committee also found evidence that McMorris Rodgers' staffers "used official resources, including official staff time, congressional office space, and travel funds, for political activities."
"The extensive record compiled by the Committee in this matter demonstrates that the offices of Representative Rodgers frequently exhibited an indifference to the laws, rules and regulations relating to the use of official and unofficial resources," concluded the panel, which is chaired by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) but equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.
"This indifference led to myriad instances of resources being used inappropriately. While in some of those instances, the misuse appeared to be a minor deviation from expected conduct, at other times the impropriety was more severe."
As a result of the long-running string of ethical and legal violations, McMorris Rodgers was ordered to reimburse the government $7,576.
The ethics panel noted that McMorris Rodgers accepted responsibility for the findings and has "taken steps to prevent such conduct from happening in the future."
The panel also praised her for full cooperation and acknowledged that McMorris Rodgers likely was unaware of the "full extent" of her office's transgressions, though it concluded that she should have known.
“Over the course of six years and four Congresses, the congresswoman and her staff voluntarily cooperated with the [Ethics] Committee in full, as it noted in its report, producing 66,500 pages of documents and submitting to over 30 witness interview requests," said a McMorris Rodgers' spokesperson in a statement. "We are pleased that the committee has ended its review and we can finally put this matter behind us."
McMorris Rogers's district covers eastern Washington and Spokane, so it's practically Idaho. It's a fairly Republican district (R+8) and this has been going on for several terms, so I'm not sure this is going to exactly hurt her chances for reelection.
Still, smart Democrats should use this to point out she's not fit for office and should be voted out.