McMorris Rodgers, who from 2013 to 2019 was the highest-ranking woman in the House GOP caucus, probably did not know the extent of the misconduct, the report says, but “she should have been aware that some of the misuse was occurring.”
The committee found several instances from 2008 to 2013 in which McMorris Rodgers’s staffers used resources from her congressional office to benefit her politically.
In one instance, McMorris Rodgers was found to have combined her campaign and official resources to fund her drive for her leadership post, including compensating consultants from both accounts. She could have used one or the other but was not allowed to commingle them, according to House rules.
The panel also determined that several members of McMorris Rodgers’s congressional staff used official resources for campaign activities. Congressional aides are allowed to assist with campaigns but can’t do so while on the clock. The Ethics Committee found that staff used House equipment, including for drafting campaign news releases and speeches, while in the congressional office during their workday.
Some staff members were also found to have used official resources to make trips back to the congressional district for campaigning and to have done so under the guise of congressional work.
“The pervasive and years-long nature of this misconduct is particularly alarming,” the report says.
Because McMorris Rodgers was not found to have directed the misuse of the funds, the punishment is relatively minor and the amount owed is a conservative estimate.
“In this case, for more than five years, Representative Rodgers ran offices that showed indifference at best to the rules governing how official and unofficial resources can be used by Members and their staff,” the report concludes. “Her offices were, in a word, sloppy.”
McMorris Rodgers, in a letter to the committee on Dec. 9, wrote that she accepted responsibility for what had occurred. She said her office would “continue to implement policies to prevent such conduct from happening in the future.”