Three long years after information regarding Congresswoman Judy Chu’s potential ethics violations made its way to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics, Chu received a mere “letter of reproval” for her improper actions.
Congresswoman Chu was reprimanded, but issued no fine for interfering with the Congressional investigation into her part in compelling staff members to conduct improper campaign functions while on government time.
Congresswoman Chu’s Chief of Staff and Legislative Director were accused of requiring staff to “perform campaign-related work in the House office, during regular work hours.” No evidence was exposed that would implicate that Chu had knowledge of these indiscretions. However, Chu was found to have interfered with and thus significantly delayed the Committee’s investigation.
Chu’s expression of regret for her actions did not dissuade the Ethics Committee from voting to issue Chu a slap on the wrist with the “letter of reproval.”
The committee found Chu to have informed the staff on occasion of rules regarding functions performed on official House time. This may have influenced their decision to relegate disciplinary action to the letter of reproval for interfering with their investigation of the matter.
In that reproval letter, the committee admonished Chu for her actions, stating, “Indeed, the Committee cannot perform its essential functions, which are critical to upholding the public’s trust in the institution of the House, without the full cooperation of House Members and staff. In communicating your own version of the facts regarding a subject of the Committee’s investigation to a material witness, you impeded the Committee’s work and exhibited very poor judgment.” The Committee closes the letter declaring the matter closed.
Chu isn’t alone when it comes to California Congressional Dems that have gotten into hot water.
Making her debut on Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted” list in 2011, the same year questions were raised against Chu, now former Representative Laura Richardson (D-CA) found herself “in hot water for reportedly misusing her congressional staff for personal and political gain.”
Richardson was under investigation at the time of Judicial Watch’s report. Judicial Watch stated, “Rep. Richardson has responded by denying that she has ever forced employees to volunteer on campaigns, and then played the “race card,” claiming she is being targeted because she is black and because she is a woman.” Multiple former actions by Richardson were also noted in the report.
In August, 2012, a House Ethics Committee report released results of their investigation, which concluded that Richardson violated multiple standards of conduct by improperly using House resources for campaign, personal, and nonofficial purposes; by requiring or compelling her official staff to perform campaign work; and by obstructing the investigation of the Committee and the Investigative Subcommittee through the alteration or destruction of evidence, the deliberate failure to produce documents responsive to requests for information and a subpoena, and attempting to influence the testimony of witnesses.
Richardson agreed to admit to all seven counts in a Statement of Alleged violation in July, 2012 and was issued a $10,000 fine according to the House Ethics Committee Report.
Los Angeles region Congresswoman Maxine Waters has been the subject of more than one incident of ethically questionable action and has also made Judicial Watch’s Ten Most Wanted list. Judicial Watch noted accusations of Waters pushing for TARP funds to be granted to a financial institution her husband held an interest in, and on which she served on the board of directors. She had not disclosed the connection when advocating for the funds. Waters also has been questioned for sponsoring legislation that would potentially benefit a real-estate finance business represented by a lobbyist that paid Water’s husband thousands in consulting fees.
In October, 2012, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton reported that Waters received but a slap on the wrist as a result of House Committee on Ethics investigation into her alleged indiscreditions. Fitton wrote, “Well now the House Ethics Committee has allowed yet another California Democrat member of Congress to skate — Rep. Maxine Waters.” He detailed, “the “punishment” meted out to Waters’ top aide (did I mention he is also Waters’ grandson?) was a “letter of reproval” which is reportedly the lightest sanction the committee could have possibly issued.”