For more than two years following disclosure of the scandal involving his former chief of staff, David Schweikert, the Republican Congressman allegedly representing Arizona's Sixth district, claimed his own ethics problems with harmless clerical errors. He emphatically declared that he would be exonerated. He ultimately would come out of this clean.
He lied.'DID YOU DO ANYTHING WRONG? NO.' Ran into @RepDavid at April 2019 ribbon-cutting while ethics investigation was going on. From the start he claimed these were bookkeeping mistakes. #AZ06 https://t.co/KMZdMqSsx1 pic.twitter.com/38AsBmF0Da— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) July 31, 2020
Yesterday, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) released its report on the Arizona Republican.
This report: (1) summarizes the Committee’s investigation of Representative David Schweikert relating to violations of House Rules, the Code of Ethics for Government Service, federal laws and other applicable standards related to campaign finance violations and reporting errors by his authorized campaign committees, the misuse of his Members’ Representational Allowance for unofficial purposes, pressuring official staff to perform campaign work, and his lack of candor during the investigation; (2) adopts the attached report of the Investigative Subcommittee (ISC) in the Matter of Representative Schweikert; (3) addresses Representative Schweikert’s views on the ISC Report; and (4) recommends to the House of Representatives that, pursuant to Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution and Committee Rule 24(e), the House of Representatives adopt this report and, by such action, Representative Schweikert be reprimanded and fined $50,000.Isn't "lack of candor" a euphemistic expression for deception? Report excerpts follow:
Representative Schweikert’s campaign committees erroneously disclosed or failed to disclose at least $305,000 in loans or repayment of loans made or obtained for the benefit of his congressional campaigns; failed to report at least $25,000 in disbursements made by his campaigns; failed to report more than $140,000 in contributions received by his campaigns; and falsely reported making disbursements totaling $100,000.
Schweikert’s former Chief of Staff made over $270,000 worth of impermissible outlays on behalf of Representative Schweikert’s campaign and at least three other members of Representative Schweikert’s congressional staff made impermissible outlays, totaling less than $500. Representative Schweikert knew or should have known that Mr. Schwab made substantial purchases on behalf of his campaign, but did not prevent the practice. Congressional employees are prohibited under federal law from making contributions to the campaign of their employing Member; certain outlays, even if reimbursed, are considered contributions and are thus impermissible.
Representative Schweikert misused campaign funds for personal purposes by accepting personal items from staff that were reimbursed by campaign funds. Between 2011 and 2018, at least four members of Representative Schweikert’s congressional staff paid for personal items for Representative Schweikert, including food and babysitting services, and were then reimbursed for those items by Representative Schweikert’s campaign. The conversion of campaign funds to personal use violated FECA [Federal Employees Compensation Act] and the FEC’s [Federal Election Commission] implementing regulations, violated House Rule XXIII, clause 6, which states campaign funds must be kept separate and cannot be converted to personal use, and violated paragraph 2 of the Code of Ethics for Government Service.
Representative Schweikert’s Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA) was used for non-official purposes. Between January 2011 and November 2017, Representative Schweikert’s official resources—including official funds, staff time, and congressional office space—were improperly used for unofficial and campaign purposes... Representative Schweikert failed to provide the oversight necessary to prevent misuse of his MRA.
Fifth, members of Representative Schweikert’s congressional staff were pressured to perform campaign work.
Representative Schweikert violated House Rule XXIII, clause 1 by failing to exercise the proper diligence necessary in responding to the allegations and the ISC determined that his testimony lacked credibility. Representative Schweikert’s lack of candor and due diligence formed the basis for Count XI of the SAV.
In addition, the Committee defers to the ISC’s findings that Representative Schweikert’s testimony lacked candor at times. In taking issue with the ISC’s questioning strategy, Representative Schweikert attempts to shift his responsibility to provide truthful and candid testimony into an affirmative duty of the ISC to inform him whenever he gave untruthful testimony. However, the ISC findings with respect to his lack of candor were not over minor memory lapses or slight deviations from others’ testimony but were due to its serious concerns regarding Representative Schweikert’s own affirmative and self-serving statements, some which were not responsive to any question posed, and which were squarely inconsistent with the record the ISC obtained.
The Committee appreciates that Representative Schweikert made substantial efforts to cooperate with the investigation by, among other things, producing thousands of pages of documents in response to the ISC’s requests for information and by submitting a sua sponte report detailing his campaign’s acceptance of outlays; however, as the ISC explained, “there is no number of pages produced or dollars spent on lawyers that can substitute for actually acknowledging and providing candid responses to specific allegations of unethical conduct.”
Throughout the course of this investigation, Representative Schweikert made vague or misleading statements to the ISC and OCE that allowed him to evade the statute of limitations for the most egregious violations of campaign finance laws, his document productions were slow or non-responsive to several of the ISC’s requests for information regarding FEC errors, and he gave self-serving testimony that lacked candor. Efforts like the ones Representative Schweikert undertook to delay and impede the ISC’s investigation were not only highly detrimental to the Committee’s work and reputation of the House, they were themselves sanctionable misconduct.
This matter should serve as an important reminder to all individuals within the House community that when confronted with allegations of unethical conduct, they should take immediate steps to investigate and correct the issues and ensure that they do not occur again in the future. Allowing unethical conduct to continue in a Member’s campaign and/or congressional office makes that Member complicit in the violation and the offending Member will be held accountable.
The ultimate accountability for David Schweikert's self-serving tenure in Congress is coming in three months.
From The Atlantic, in 2018, Why the FBI Fires People for "Lack of Candor,"
"Lack of candor is untruthfulness or an attempt to dissemble from the point of view of the investigator,” said Dave Gomez, a former FBI agent and a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. “The problem comes when, in answering a question, the person under investigation attempts to spin his answer in order to present his actions in the best possible light. This is normal human behavior, but can be interpreted as a lack of candor by the investigator.”
It's time for the VOTERS of Arizona's Sixth district to fire David Schweikert for his lack of candor. My choice at this time to represent me in the next Congress, come 2021, is Anita Malik.
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