Ethics Committee Launches Investigation Into Dem Rep

The House Ethics Committee announced on December 27 that it is investigating complaints that Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) may have violated campaign finance laws both in the 2022 special election and her 2022 reelection campaign, carried out improper hiring tactics, and failed to properly submit required disclosures, Politico reported.

The progressive Democrat was first elected in a 2022 special election to replace the late Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings who died in 2021.

In a unanimous vote, the Ethics Committee agreed to investigate Cherfilus-McCormick after the independent Office of Congressional Ethics that investigates complaints of misconduct referred the complaints to the committee.

The precise details of the allegations may never be known and an Ethics Committee investigation does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing on the part of a lawmaker.

Jonathan Levin, a spokesman for the Florida Democrat, told Politico that an Ethics Committee investigation does not prove “that any violation occurred.” He said Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick is taking the matter “seriously” and would work to resolve the allegations.

The other complaints noted in the Ethics Committee’s announcement include allowing someone who wasn’t hired by her office to deal with official work and failing to “disclose required information on statements.”

In June 2022, Inside Elections reported that Cherfilus-McCormick also used funds from her congressional office to run campaign ads, a practice that is allowed but rarely done since it blurs the ethics line.

Any individual or group is allowed to file a complaint against a lawmaker with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Investigators typically only make their findings public if they find that wrongdoing has occurred.

Since the Office of Congressional Ethics has no disciplinary power, it refers any complaint to the House Ethics Committee which will conduct its own investigation to determine if a lawmaker has violated federal ethics laws and if any disciplinary action must be taken.