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House Dem Laura Richardson Fined $10K for Violating House Rules

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(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

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