House committee investigating Rep. Laura Richardson

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 30, 2009; 11:36 AM

The House ethics committee is investigating whether Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) failed to disclose information about a controversy last year in which her home was put into foreclosure and sold. The sale was invalidated after Richardson said she had not known of the sale and had previously reached an agreement to restructure the loan.

The ethics committee announced Thursday it would examine whether Richardson should have included the foreclosure information regarding her Sacramento home in her financial disclosure forms and whether her lender offered preferential treatment in how the home was eventually returned to Richardson's ownership.

The Richardson probe was included in a document obtained by The Washington Post that described ethics inquiries being conducted by both the House Ethics Committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics.

According to the California-based Capitol Weekly, the congresswoman owed more than $600,000 in unpaid loans and fees on the home at the time of the foreclosure.

"Like 4.3 million Americans in the last year who faced financial problems because of a personal crisis like a divorce, death in the family, unexpected job and living changes and an erroneous property sale, all of which I have experienced in the span of slightly over a year, I have worked to resolve a personal financial situation," Richardson said in a statement.

"But unlike other Americans, I have been subjected to premature judgments, speculation and baseless distractions that will finally be addressed in a fair, unbiased, bi-partisan evaluation of the facts. I hope that the Committee, despite its full schedule, now can quickly close the book, while I keep working on the issues that matter to my constituents."

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