Report cites California lawmaker for ethics violations

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 01, 2012 12:51 PM
Report cites California lawmaker for ethics violations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The ethics panel of the U.S. House of Representatives said on Wednesday Democratic congresswoman Laura Richardson should be reprimanded for improperly using congressional resources for unofficial purposes and forcing staff to work for her re-election effort.

Richardson, elected to the House in 2007, agreed to admit to the violations as part of a negotiated settlement, the report said. The findings from the Committee on Ethics called on the House to formally censure Richardson and fine her $10,000.

The committee also said Richardson obstructed its investigation "through the alteration or destruction of evidence, the deliberate failure to produce documents responsive to requests for information and a subpoena, and attempting to influence the testimony of witnesses."

Her office issued a statement accompanying the report challenging the legitimacy of the ethics probe and saying she had not intentionally committed the violations.

"Even if her objections had merit - and they do not - the time for lodging those objections has passed," the committee responded.

Richardson is in a close race in a newly created district with another Democratic incumbent, Representative Janice Hahn.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Fred Barbash and Will Dunham)