Ethics Violation by McMorris?
As we have said before, McMorris Rodgers‘ single most important goal is advancing as far in the Republican Party as she can. It now appears that she may have been willing to violate Congressional ethics rules to do it. An ex-staffer of hers, Todd Winer, made the charge that she inappropriately mixed money from her political campaign with tax payer dollars to pay for campaign materials for her 2012 House leadership race.
What is also interesting is that she use the unethical mixture of political and tax payer money to brag about how much time she spent not doing her job. In the campaign materials, she bragged that she “was on the ground in 22 states and 51 districts” raising money and campaigning for other Republicans instead of spending time in Eastern Washington with her constituents or Washington DC at her job. Politico summarizes McMorris Rodgers ethical troubles.
GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers faces a possible House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations by a former staffer that she improperly mixed campaign and official funds to help win a 2012 House leadership race.
The Office of Congressional Ethics has recommended that the Ethics Committee conduct a full probe into the case. The Ethics Committee announced on Thursday that it will continuing reviewing the allegations until March 23. At that point, ethics will have to appoint a special investigative subcommittee to conduct a full-scale probe, or drop the case and publicly release OCE’s report. OCE originally forwarded its recommendation to the Ethics Committee shortly before the Christmas holiday (Politico 2014).
McMorris has few legislative achievements to her name and seldom spends time in Eastern Washington. She visited 22 states campaigning for other Republicans. She was in North Carolina three times and New York twice in 2012. In these two states along, McMorris Rodgers was in them more times than she visited voters in eastern Washington that year! It is ironic that bragging about being absent from Eastern Washington is what has gotten McMorris in trouble.
Although House leadership races are often under-the-radar affairs, McMorris Rodgers’s effort included a slick packet mailed to members’ homes featuring headlines about the congresswoman from conservative news outlets like Human Events and Red State. It detailed how much money McMorris Rodgers had raised for her fellow Republicans, how often she had campaigned for others (“Cathy was on the ground in 22 states and 51 districts”) and her media appearances (“4 Sunday Shows. 27 National Op-eds. 53 Cable Appearances.”) (The Daily Beast, 2014).