House Ethics Committee Unanimously Votes To Investigate Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)

House Ethics Committee Unanimously Votes To Investigate Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)

In a stunning blow to the Senatorial hopes of Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), the House Ethics Committee today unanimously voted to open an investigative subcommittee into conflict of interest charges stemming from her alleged attempts to direct cash toward the kidney health care industry – and, in particular, toward her husband, who runs the Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada. Breitbart News led the charge in demanding investigation into Berkley’s activities.

The House Ethics Committee, chaired by Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL) and ranking member Rep. Linda T. Chavez (D-CA), released the following statement:

In accordance with Clause 3 of House Rule XI and Committee Rules 14(a)(3) and 18, the Committee on Ethics (the Committee) unanimously voted on June 29, 2012, to establish an investigative subcommittee. Pursuant to the Committee’s action, the investigative subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Representative Shelley Berkley violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other applicable standard of conduct in the performance of her duties or the discharge of her responsibilities, with respect to alleged communications and activities with or on behalf of entities in which Representative Berkley’s husband had a financial interest.

The Committee has determined to take this action based upon a discretionary review of the allegations, as well as evidence obtained pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), authorized by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee for the 112th Congress. During the course of the Committee’s independent investigation, the Committee received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding this same matter. As provided by House Rule X, clause 1(g) and Committee Rule 17A, the Committee has exclusive jurisdiction over the interpretation, administration, and enforcement of the Code of Official Conduct. Consistent with the Committee’s rules, it reviews OCE’s report and findings without prejudice or presumptions as to the merit of the allegations.

The Committee notes that the mere fact of establishing an investigative subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.

Representative K. Michael Conaway will serve as the Chair of the investigative subcommittee, and Representative Donna F. Edwards will serve as the Ranking Member. The other two members of the subcommittee are Representative Robert E. Latta and Representative Adam Schiff. No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with Committee rules. Pursuant to House Rule XI, Clause 3(b)(8)(B)(iii), and Committee Rule 17A(f)(1), no documents will be released at this time.

This action, in and of itself, does not guarantee that justice will be done in Berkley’s case – now we await the findings of the investigative subcommittee. But the House Ethics Committee has done the right thing in opening its investigation.