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House ethics panel announces allegations against Luis Gutierrez

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), right, shakes hands with immigrants before a hearing on immigration reform last year. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Updated 4:12 p.m.

The House Ethics Committee is reviewing unspecified allegations against Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), the panel announced Thursday.

The committee said in a statement that the Office of Congressional Ethics, which investigates allegations of wrongdoing against lawmakers on behalf of the committee, referred the findings of an investigation into Gutierrez to the committee in early December. Just because the committee begins reviewing the findings of that investigation doesn't signal that Gutierrez is guilty, the committee added. An update will be given in May.

Gutierrez is a longtime lawmaker from Chicago and a strong supporter of enacting new immigration laws. In a statement Thursday, his spokesman said that the investigation is related to "whether a long-standing contract was allowable under House rules. The contract for services was reviewed and approved by the House of Representatives and submitted for renewal each Congress for 10 years. It was consistently and properly reported. Rep. Gutierrez cancelled the contract last year."

The spokesman added that Gutierrez "cooperated fully with the OCE during its review and will continue to do so with the Committee."

USA Today reported this week that Gutierrez has spent nearly $30,000 in legal fees since last summer after the newspaper reported that the lawmaker had kept a Chicago lobbyist working in his congressional office for years. The lobbyist, Doug Scofield, is Gutierrez's former chief of staff  and was paid several thousand dollars a month as a contractor to work with the lawmaker's staff, according to the newspaper.

Separate from the Gutierrez matter, the committee has other pending investigations against Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), and updates on those probes are expected to be announced soon.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.



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