(WASHINGTON) — California Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson has agreed to be reprimanded by the House of Representatives and fined $10,000 for violating House rules. Richardson used official resources for her 2010 re-election campaign and obstructed the Ethics committee’s investigation into her actions.
The committee recommended that the full House reprimand Richardson, who is serving her third term in the lower chamber. A vote on reprimand could occur before the House leaves for a five-week recess, although Thursday’s floor schedule has not been announced yet. The committee recommended the punishment in a report posted on its website.
The year-long investigation, “unanimously concluded that there was substantial reason to believe that Representative Laura Richardson violated the Purpose Law…by improperly using House resources for campaign, personal, and nonofficial purposes; by requiring or compelling her official staff to perform campaign work, and by obstructing the investigation of the Committee and the [Investigative Subcommittee] 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.”
“Representative Richardson’s submission continues the approach she has taken in this matter from the outset: an utter absence of true remorse for her misuse of official resources and, equally as significant, for what she has put her staff through, as well as a near total deflection of responsibility for this matter,” the report stated.
According to the report, Richardson ordered a staff member, “to go to her opponent’s campaign office and volunteer to assist her opponent’s campaign, using a fictitious name, for the purpose of gathering information including fliers and leaflets from that opponent.”
This fall, Richardson is facing fellow incumbent Democrat, Freshman Janice Hahn, in a newly drawn district in the Golden State. Hahn defeated Richardson in a primary earlier this summer, but the duo will compete again this fall in a head-to-head race. The committee also, “unanimously agreed to strongly discourage Representative Richardson from permitting any of her official staff to perform work on her campaign.” If a staffer chooses to work on Richardson’s campaign, the aide will be required to sign a waiver asserting that the work will be provided voluntarily, not by the order of the congresswoman.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Allie Malloy and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal