The House ethics committee ruled yesterday that Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio) violated House rules by continuing to pay a staff member who moved to New York City, but it said no disciplinary action is warranted.
The committee also found "no evidence of improper action" in Oakar's purchase of a Washington town house with another aide who was given a pay raise at about the same time of the transaction.
On the improper salary payments, the panel noted that Oakar "admitted fault" and "voluntarily repaid the U.S. Treasury" the approximately $45,000 involved. Therefore, "No disciplinary action is warranted in the matter," the committee said.
House rules say members only can pay staff members who work in Washington, D.C., or in the member's home district or state.
The committee found that an Oakar aide, who was employed from June 1982 to October 1986, had moved to New York City in late 1984 for health reasons. Oakar agreed to keep the person on her payroll as a researcher.
Panel investigators found the aide did legitimate work in New York and Oakar received "value" for the salary. The panel told Oakar it found a "lack of evidence of any intent on your part to act improperly."
The report on the joint purchase of the town house said no evidence was found to suggest the $10,000 pay raise to the other staff member "was initiated to enable participation in the town house purchase." The committee said other Oakar staffers received pay raises at the same time -- some amounting to 30 percent, compared with the 20 percent raise granted the co-purchaser.
The panel, named the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, also voted to investigate allegations that Rep. Charlie Rose (D-N.C.) violated House rules by using campaign funds to pay personal expenses. The North Carolina Republican Party complained that Rose has borrowed $63,000 from his campaign account since 1978 to buy property and a car.