A Republican congressman has found himself face-to-face with an ethics investigation.
The Washington Examiner reports that Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) is being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics for “possible campaign finance violations,” including the alleged use of campaign funds for personal reasons.
Altogether, some $49,000 spent by Mooney’s campaign is being called into question.
The question that the Office of Congressional Ethics is now asking is whether these funds were actually used for Mooney’s campaign or if he spent them on himself. Members of Congress are, of course, not allowed to use campaign funds for personal reasons; there are both federal laws and House rules that prohibit this.
Mooney’s campaign, for its part, has reported that this $49,000 went to a variety of things, including stays at resorts, car expenses, meal purchases, and more.
Investigators are said to be looking into allegations such that since 2018, $19,000 of the $49,000 was spent by Mooney’s campaign at St. James Parish and St. Zita’s gift shop. These places are both located in Charles Town, West Virginia, described by the Examiner as Mooney’s “adopted hometown.”
Another $6,100 said to have come under scrutiny was reportedly used by Mooney to pay for travel to various resorts and hotels throughout West Virginia. Yet another $1,900, the total from 53 transactions, was used at Chick-fil-A, and $640 reportedly went to an outdoor retail store.
According to Roll Call, the investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics has been ongoing since March of this year.
Investigators are also said to be looking into whether Mooney’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings were correct, as well as into thousands of dollars worth of reimbursements that Mooney received.
Neither Mooney nor a representative of his has commented on the investigation, reports note.
The Office of Congressional Ethics is only the start, however. What happens next will be determined by what investigators find.
If they do rule that Mooney did something unethical, then the next step would be for them to send the matter over to the House Ethics Committee, which has the authority to discipline members of the House, according to Roll Call.