Legal representation doesn’t come cheap. But members of Congress who find themselves needing it can dip into their campaign funds to pay the bills.
The Loop wrote about this last week when digging into the debts of former representative Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.). Now the latest example shows up in the first quarter Federal Election Commission filing from the campaign account of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).
McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House, was investigated for misusing taxpayer money for campaign related expenses. The Office of Congressional Ethics detailed the allegations in a report, but the House Ethics Committee has not yet pressed forward with any additional investigation.
According to her FEC report, McMorris Rodgers paid a total of $42, 325 in legal fees over the first three months of this year to D.C.-based firm McGuireWoods.
The House Ethics Manual says this is all on the up and up. Members of Congress can use campaign funds to defend legal actions that arise from the job because “the protection of a Member’s presumption of innocence” is a “valid political purpose.”
So the only cost to the member of Congress, it would seem, is a few more hours spent fundraising.