Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), the chief deputy majority whip, is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
The investigation stems from a $25,653 trip Roskam took with his wife in October 2011, and whether the Taiwanese government funded it improperly after the House Ethics Committee formally approved it.
Under House ethics rules, members may not accept gifts from foreign governments except in very limited cases…
According to the OCE report on Roskam, the Illinois Republican’s office was contacted in May 2011 by an official for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, which is Taiwan’s “de facto” embassy in the United States.
The TECRO official, Gordon Yang, asked whether Roskam was interested in taking part in a congressional delegation traveling to the Asian nation in late June 2011. Under the Mutual Educations and Cultural Exchange Act, foreign governments are allowed to pay for such trips. However, a lawmaker cannot accept travel expenses for a spouse or family member.
According to the OCE report, a Roskam aide told Yang that the Illinois Republican wanted to take his wife to Taiwan with him. Since the Taiwanese government could not cover the cost of Elizabeth Roskam’s expenses, a private sponsor for the trip needed to be found.
Roskam’s office provided the following statement to Breitbart News:
The record reflects that Rep. Roskam fully complied with all laws, rules, and procedures related to privately sponsored travel. The trip was vetted and approved by the House Ethics Committee, the body legally authorized to make determinations on Congressional conduct.
The OCE is wrong to take issue with the involvement of the Government of Taiwan in planning and conducting the trip, a matter that is routine, allowed under the law, and was known to the House Ethics Committee as they thoroughly vetted and approved the trip.
Rep. Roskam will continue to fully cooperate, having already turned over every document and communication, made himself and his staff available for interview, waived his right to confidentiality with the House Ethics Committee, and otherwise provided any and all information regarding the trip to OCE.
Rep. Roskam is taking the extraordinary step of voluntarily releasing the non-public OCE report and materials relating to their review. He fully expects the clear and indisputable facts of the case to speak for themselves, that both he and his staff have acted in accordance with all laws, rules, and regulations. Rep. Roskam and his staff have fully followed House Ethics Committee procedures to take an approved, appropriate, and informative trip to a key U.S. strategic ally.”
Roskam joins fellow Illinois Congressman Aaron Shock as the second Republican in the House of Representatives to face an ethics investigation this year.