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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 07/18/2012

Rep. Rob Andrews faces ethics inquiry


Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), left, faces a new ethics inquiry. (Melina Mara - THE WASHINGTON POST)
Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D-N.J.) faces a fresh inquiry by the House Ethics Committee into allegations that he improperly used campaign cash to take a family vacation and pay for a graduation party.

The ethics panel said it is reviewing unspecified allegations submitted to them by the Office of Congressional Ethics in April. But the decision comes as Andrews has faced separate complaints filed with the Federal Election Commission over how he spends campaign cash. Those complaints came after news reports last year detailed how Andrews allegedly used his campaign account to pay for a family trip to Scotland, for a birthday party for his daughter, to make donations to a Philadelphia theater that employed his daughter and to take trips to California to help boost his daughter’s fledgling theater career.

The committee said it will determine how to proceed by Aug. 31.

Andrews angrily denied the charges in a statement and dismissed them as rooted in partisanship.

“Last November, the Republican party’s local chairman issued a press release announcing that he had forwarded to the House Ethics committee a series of accusations against me and my family. These accusations are totally and categorically false,” Andrews said in a statement issued late Tuesday by his office. “Such attacks on anyone’s children and families, who are not public figures, should have no place in our political discourse.”

“None of these accusations involve the use of taxpayer or government money,” Andrews added. “Our campaign’s public disclosures show that every dollar of our campaign funds was properly spent and fully disclosed.”

Andrews, 56, has served in the House since 1990 when he won the seat vacated by his mentor, former New Jersey governor and Rep. Jim Florio (D). Andrews is a regular guest on cable news programs and maintains a generally moderate voting record, but has supported health-care reform and legislation making it easier for workers to unionize.

The Andrews inquiry comes amid several other investigations underway by the Ethics Committee, which recently dismissed one set of allegations against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and said it will formally investigate accusations that Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) used her position to benefit the financial interests of her husband

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