Reports show Schweikert’s re-election bid is nearly bankrupt as House Ethics Committee finds “substantial reason” to believe he broke rules
In case you missed it, Congressman David Schweikert had a rough week. On Monday, Politico reported that legal fees from the growing investigation into Schweikert’s potentially illegal handling of tax dollars and improper campaign contributions have put his re-election bid in serious financial jeopardy. According to Politico, “Overall debt by Schweikert’s reelection committee amounted to more than $251,000, meaning Schweikert’s campaign owes more than it has on hand.” Then, a damaging House Ethics Committee report released on Wednesday made things worse, finding that there’s “substantial reason” to believe Schweikert violated campaign law – a revelation that directly contradicts Schweikert’s claims that there is nothing to the allegations against him.
Schweikert told reporters that he will not resign, setting him up for a rocky re-election bid where his rampant corruption will no doubt be a central issue.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s a look back at Schweikert’s week, according to the reporters who cover him:
Rep. David Schweikert is running up big legal bills as the House Ethics Committee investigates the Arizona Republican’s dealings with his former top aide and other employees.
Schweikert owes more than $229,000 to law firms, according to his just-released campaign filings. And that’s on top of the tens of thousands of dollars he has already paid his defense team during the ethics probe.
In fact, Schweikert’s legal debts nearly equal the cash on hand his reelection committee reported as of March 30, according to his filing with the Federal Election Commission. Schweikert’s legal debts were more than $229,000, while the reelection campaign had slightly less than $241,000 in the bank. Overall debt by Schweikert’s reelection committee amounted to more than $251,000, meaning Schweikert’s campaign owes more than it has on hand.
…Yet Schweikert’s growing legal debts demonstrate the challenges the Ethics Committee probe poses for the Arizona Republican. Schweikert owed just under $95,000 to his lawyers at the end of 2018, according to FEC records.
The U.S. House Ethics Committee acknowledged Wednesday that its unanimous decision to investigate Rep. David Schweikert last year had “substantial reason” to believe he improperly billed campaign expenses to his congressional office.
…Schweikert has in the past cast the matter as a bookkeeping issue, though investigators have taken more than 18 months to sort out the money trail.
…The Schweikert probe comes as Democrats have set their sights on his Scottsdale-based 6th Congressional District, in part because of his ethics case and also because that party thinks voters are increasingly open to political change.
…It is rare for the Ethics Committee to create a panel to investigate a House member, and for such a panel to expand its scope in the middle of an investigation.
The U.S. House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that they will continue their review of Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills.
The six-person panel of bipartisan representatives has been investigating Schweikert since April 2018, on allegations that he misspent official funds, improperly funneled funds to his chief of staff and omitted information from his financial and campaign reports.
The report said there is “substantial reason to believe that Rep. Schweikert failed to ensure that his campaign committee complied with applicable rules regarding contributions from congressional employees.”
…His office has not returned KJZZ’s request for comment.
The House Ethics Committee on Wednesday released details of its probe of Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills, that began last year finding “substantial reason to believe” he may have approved improper office expenditures and campaign contributions.
…“Arizonans in CD-6 (Schweikert’s district) can’t afford to be represented any longer by someone who so blatantly puts his own self-interest ahead of his constituents,” said Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Les Braswell in a statement that called Schweikert’s campaign “is nearly as bankrupt as his character.”
…Requests for comment from Schweikert’s office were not immediately returned Wednesday. But Schweikert in the past has dismissed the claims in the investigation as little more than a bookkeeping error he was confident would be cleared up.
…Despite claims that it was just an oversight, however, Federal Election Commission reports filed this week showed the Schweikert’s campaign owes more than $200,000 in legal fees. Politico reported that most of the legal fees are owed to a law firm that specializes in campaign finance matters.
The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it will continue its probe into allegations that Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and his former chief of staff Oliver Schwab misused official funds and received improper campaign contributions.
The panel said it is reviewing a referral received last year from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which found “substantial reason” to believe Schweikert misused funds and accepted unlawful contributions from someone who worked in his office.
The House Ethics Committee is continuing an investigation into allegations that Rep. David Schweikert and his former chief of staff misused office resources and violated campaign committee rules, as the panel on Wednesday released the initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics board unanimously recommending it review the matter.
OCE’s six-member board voted unanimously on April 5, 2018 to refer the allegations involving the Arizona Republican to the House Ethics Committee, which opened an investigation in May.
The board found “substantial reason” to believe Schweikert authorized Members’ Representational Allowance, or MRA, expenditures that his former chief of staff Oliver Schwab made outside of the scope of permissible official expenses and that he failed to ensure his campaign committee followed the rules in accepting contributions from one of his congressional office employees in the form of individual outlays that later were reimbursed.