Congress votes to extend investigations into 3 shady GOP House members


The House Ethics Committee voted to reauthorize investigations into Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chris Collins (R-NY), and David Schweikert (R-AZ).

On Friday, the House Ethics Committee voted to extend investigations into three Republican members, including two who are out on bail and awaiting trials in federal court.

Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY) were arrested on federal charges and are awaiting trial. The other member under investigation is David Schweikert (R-AZ), who is suspected of financial improprieties. 

According to statements on the Ethics Committee website, the vote to reauthorize the investigations was unanimous on a committee which has five Democrats and five Republicans.

Hunter and his wife were arrested for allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars from his campaign to live a lavish lifestyle, including taking international family vacations, buying tickets to the theater, and even paying to transport their family's pet bunny across the country. In another case, the couple bought new clothes for Hunter only to lie about it on official forms, saying the money was spent on gifts for wounded veterans. The couple even allegedly paid for their children's private school with campaign funds.

Hunter initially blamed his wife, who served as his campaign manager, for the wide-ranging misuse of funds.

In April, Hunter almost violated his parole during a stunt at the U.S.-Mexico border. On video, he claimed to be entering Mexico, but he was, in fact, about 100 feet away from the border.

Collins is awaiting trial after being charged with insider trading in August 2018. According to federal prosecutors, Collins passed along sensitive information to his son to help his son make better stock trades.

Schweikert and his chief of staff are under investigation for possibly misusing his congressional allowance — known as the Members Representational Allowance (MRA) — and possibly accepting illegal campaign donations. 

The three members under investigation aren't the only House Republicans facing scrutiny for unethical or illegal behavior.

Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) is a member in good standing with the House Republicans despite the fact that he violently assaulted a reporter on the eve of a 2017 special election.

And Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has been accused by multiple former college athletes of turning a blind eye to sexual crimes committed while Jordan was a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

Because multiple Republicans are under indictment, House Republicans were forced to change the rules of who they allow to serve on committees. While Hunter and Collins are out on bail, neither is allowed to serve on any House committees. Schweikert has not been arrested, and he is allowed to continue serving on committees while under investigation.

Meanwhile, no members of the House Democratic Party are facing criminal charges.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.