This blog has chronicled the dirty dealings of California Dem Rep. Laura Richardson since May 2008, when she bailed on her half-million-dollar-plus, second-home mortgage. She was also a tax-dodger and utility bill welcher. A few weeks later, it turned out that she had defaulted on three home loans while lending her campaign $77,500. A few weeks after that, three defaults turned into six defaults. The unpaid debts kept piling up, but Richardson held on to her job. And Congress looked the other way…
…until 2009, when the House announced a probe into her failure to disclose required information on her financial disclosure forms and alleged special treatment from a lender.
In 2011, she was cleared of “knowingly” accepting favors, but became subject of a second probe into using employees on government time to work on her political campaign.
Last month, Richardson lost her primary re-election bid to fellow Dem Rep. Janice Hahn and will face off against her again on Nov. 6.
Today, the House Ethics Committee announced a belated wrist-slap in the second probe against Richardson:
ursuant to House Rule XI Clause 3(q)(2)(D), today the Chairman of the Committee on Ethics, Representative Jo Bonner, and the Ranking Member, Representative Linda T. Sánchez, submitted a report to the House of Representatives in the Matter of Allegations Relating to Representative Laura Richardson. The full Committee report includes the report of the Investigative Subcommittee (ISC) in this matter, along with the responsive views of Representative Richardson. The full Committee report also addresses the concerns and arguments made by Representative Richardson in her views.
At the completion of its investigation, the ISC unanimously concluded that there was substantial reason to believe that Representative Laura Richardson violated the Purpose Law, 31 U.S.C. § 1301; House Rule XXIII clauses 1, 2, and 8; Clause 2 of the Code of Ethics for Government Service; and other 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 ISC 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.
As part of a resolution Representative Richardson negotiated with the ISC, Representative Richardson agreed to admit to all seven counts in the Statement of Alleged Violation, accept all other terms of the ISC’s recommendations, and waive all further procedural rights in this matter provided to her by House or Committee Rule. On July 31, 2012, the full Committee unanimously accepted the ISC’s recommendations that the Committee submit a public report to the House, and that the adoption of that report by the House serve as a reprimand of Representative Richardson for her misconduct and impose a fine in the amount of $10,000 to be paid no later than December 1, 2012. Further, the full Committee unanimously agreed to strongly discourage Representative Richardson from permitting any of her official staff to perform work on her campaign (either on a paid or volunteer basis), but to the extent any of her official staff do perform work on her campaign, that said staff be required to sign a waiver asserting that such work will be provided voluntarily and is not being compelled by Representative Richardson.
Which bills will Richardson welch on to cough up the fine?
And oh, hey: How’s that ethics trial for Richardson’s BFF and fellow dirty Dem Maxine Waters going?
Most ethical House Democrats ever!