Congressional Ethics Office Investigates 8 Members for Fundraising on Eve of Wall Street Reform Vote

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Rep. Tom Price

Forty-eight hours before the House voted in December on a reform plan affecting the financial industry, at least eight lawmakers held fundraisers or received substantial contributions from special interests that had a stake in the legislation. Those actions prompted the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate the eight lawmakers to determine if accepting campaign checks at that time created the appearance of a conflict of interest. The investigation is ongoing.

Those under scrutiny are Republicans Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Tom Price of Georgia, John Campbell of California, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Christopher Lee of New York; and Democrats Melvin Watt of North Carolina, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and Joseph Crowley of New York.
Watt had sponsored an amendment that would have included oversight by the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency of auto dealers that offer loans. He dropped the amendment two days after a fundraiser attended by financial services companies that offer car loans.
On December 10, 2009, the day before the vote on the reform bill, Price held a “Finance Services Luncheon.”
Hensarling is the only one of the eight who did not hold a questionable fundraiser. Rather, in the ten days before the vote, he received $30,000 in contributions from the financial services industry.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


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