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Investigator absolves Va. commerce secretary

Wednesday - 2/26/2014, 1:20pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A federal investigator says he believes Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones did not knowingly break any federal laws.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General David A. Montoya testified before a U.S. House subcommittee Wednesday in Washington. His office investigated emails sent on behalf of Jones last year to 1,000 individuals asking them to contact several U.S. senators and encourage them to vote in favor of a budget bill. At the time, Jones was the second most senior official at HUD.

A report from Montoya's office found that Jones violated the department's internal policy and appeared to have violated a federal anti-lobbying and personnel laws.

But Montoya said Wednesday that Jones was not at fault and received bad advice from his staff.

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