Reps. Ronny Jackson, Wesley Hunt probed on campaign cash for club dues

Reps. Ronny Jackson, Wesley Hunt probed on campaign cash for club dues

From left, Reps. Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas, Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, and Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, display Texas temporary tattoos in celebration of Texas Independence Day, which occurs March 2 ., on the steps of the US Capitol after the final votes of the week on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The House Ethics Committee said Monday it will review a congressional watchdog report and find that there are “substantial reasons” to believe that U.S. Reps. Ronny Jackson and Wesley Hunt used thousands of dollars in campaign funds for their personal use would have.

According to separate reports from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, the campaign committees of the two Republican congressmen representing both districts in Texas made payments to private associations over several years.

The office found that Jackson’s committee, Texans for Ronny Jackson, spent nearly $12,000 between 2020 and 2024 on dues, fees, meals and other expenses related to the Amarillo Club, a dining club, gym and meeting space in Amarillo, Texas. has issued.

According to the OCE, in 2022 and 2023, Hunt’s campaign committee paid more than $5,400 in contributions and fees to the Oak Room, a private club at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston.

In both reports, the office said it found “substantial reason to believe” that each congressman “converted campaign funds” from their campaign committees “for personal use” or that their committees “spent funds not attributable to bona fide campaigns.” “political purposes.”

The bipartisan House Ethics Committee announced in press releases Monday afternoon that it received recommendations about Jackson and Hunt from the OCE in late March. The panel, led by Chairman Michael Guest, R-Miss., and ranking member Susan Wild, D-Pa., jointly decided on May 9 to review the matter.

The press release for Hunt included a lengthy response from the congressman’s lawyers, who denied that campaign funds were used for personal use.

“All payments made by Hunt for Congress to the Post Oak Hotel, including membership in the Post Oak Club, were for campaign-related purposes only and not for personal purposes,” the congressman’s attorney wrote in the 12-page response to the Congressional OCE report.

Hunt “does not maintain a campaign office” and decided that the Oak Room membership fees “would be a more prudent use of campaign funds” than renting a campaign office in Houston, the attorneys wrote.

A spokesperson for Hunt’s office told CNBC: “We believe we have cooperated fully with the House Ethics Committee and expect this to be dismissed soon.”

Jackson’s office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. The Ethics Commission’s press release regarding Jackson did not include a response from his representatives.

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The OCE reports noted that if a congressman’s campaign committee spent money that was “not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes,” that congressman “may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.” .

The reports said neither Jackson nor Hunt cooperated with their investigations, although Hunt “initially” provided “some limited information.” The OCE recommended that the House Ethics Committee issue subpoenas to both congressmen.

Jackson, who served as a White House physician under then-Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump before entering Congress in 2020, was previously accused by the OCE of misusing campaign donations at the Amarillo Club.

In the more than two years since the House Ethics Committee revealed those allegations, Jackson’s campaign “has continued to make ongoing payments to the Amarillo Club,” the report released Monday said.

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2024-06-25 00:18:34