WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee said Monday it will continue a review of Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, a Democrat who potentially profited from a foreign government through the rental of a home.
In its announcement, the committee also released recommendations from the Office of Congressional Ethics which found "substantial reason to believe" Bordallo rented the home in Guam to the Japanese Consulate.
The Constitution bans federal office holders from accepting any present, emolument or office from any king, prince or foreign state without Congressional consent. Some 200 Democratic senators and representatives are plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging President Donald Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution.
As part of its investigation, the Office of Congressional Ethics said the House Ethics Manual tells members and employees that they may not receive "any payment for services rendered to official foreign interests, such as ambassadors, embassies, or agencies of a foreign government."
The Office of Congressional Ethics says Bordallo didn't cooperate with its review and it couldn't determine the amount of rental profit Bordallo has received. The office estimates that she likely received close to $800,000 in rental income since March 2008, the year the office came into being.
Adam Carbullido, a spokesman for Bordallo, says she has received no benefit above fair market value and Bordallo believes the agreement doesn't violate federal law or House rules. He said the agreement to rent her home in Guam was entered into in 1993, which was long before she won election to the House in 2002.
One of the jobs of the House Ethics Committee is to review the merits of recommendations from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The office also stated there is substantial reason to believe Bordallo accepted gifts of free lodging, meals, and amenities for multiple weeks per year during her service in Congress.
According to Carbullido, the congresswoman says staying in the Outrigger Hotel, which is owned completely by her sister's family, doesn't violate federal law or House rules.
"Congresswoman Bordallo respects this important process and looks forward to working with the committee to resolve this matter," her spokesman said.