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House Ethics Committee looking at McMorris Rodgers

Friday - 2/7/2014, 4:40am  ET

HENRY C. JACKSON
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House Ethics Committee is considering an investigation of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the fourth-ranking member of House Republican leadership, committee officials said Thursday.

Separately, the House Ethics Committee also announced it would consider an investigation of Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla.

McMorris Rodgers, the House GOP leadership's highest-ranking woman, delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama's latest State of the Union address.

An attorney for McMorris Rodgers, Elliot Berke, said the congresswoman and her staff had cooperated fully with an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics and would do so with the House committee. The OCE is an outside organization that can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee.

OCE and the Ethics Committee don't disclose the subjects of their investigations.

"The congresswoman and her office cooperated fully with the OCE during its inquiry and have already begun assisting the committee with its review," Berke said in a statement. "We are confident that the committee will ultimately find that the allegations were baseless and that her office always followed all laws, rules and standards of conduct."

McMorris Rodgers became the top-ranking woman in House Republican leadership in November 2012, after her caucus elected her over Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

Mullin's case was also referred to the House committee by the OCE. Mullin spokeswoman Ashley Kehl said he was cooperating with the committee "and believes he is in full compliance with all ethics rules."

House Ethics chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., said in statements about both cases that considering action does not in itself "reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee."

Conaway and Sanchez say they will announce any further action in both cases by March 24.


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