WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House Ethics Committee said Friday that it is looking into potential ethics violations by two congressmen, Reps. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky.
The bipartisan panel acknowledged the separate inquiries in terse statements that said nothing about why the lawmakers were being examined. The committee said it will announce its actions on both investigations by Nov. 10.
The Chicago Sun-Times and the non-profit Better Government Association in Chicago have reported that Rush is being examined because of allegations about his use of campaign funds and for his handling of a $1 million grant.
Whitfield said in a statement that his case pertains to his work on behalf of animals. Whitfield's wife, Constance Harriman Whitfield, is a lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
The committee said it received reports on both lawmakers on June 10 from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which makes recommendations to the ethics committees in Congress. The contents of those reports have not been revealed.
The committee said its acknowledgment that it was considering allegations against the two men "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee."
In a written statement, Rush said the committee's decision to continue investigating his case "indicates they believe in the interest of fairness that more time is needed before making any substantive determination." He said he has been cooperating with the committee.
Rush is an 11-term veteran representing the Chicago area. A former member of the Black Panthers, Rush defeated a young Barack Obama in a 2000 primary when the future president challenged Rush for the Democratic nomination for his House seat.
Whitfield, in his 10th House term, said he was "disappointed that people with a financial interest in pending legislation have filed a complaint against me for my work on behalf of animals." He did not specify to whom he was referring.
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has said that Whitfield and his wife took out a joint loan with lobbyist Juanita Duggan to buy property in West Virginia. The center's report said Whitfield did not disclose the loan as required by House rules.
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