Hagedorn struggling to explain why he funneled taxpayer funds to an employee
Another week, more bad headlines for Congressman Jim Hagedorn over his decision to funnel more than $100,000 of taxpayer funds to an employee. According to multiple ethics experts, the House Ethics Manual clearly states that Members of Congress are prohibited from doing business with members of their own staff. Even worse, leaked emails show Hagedorn was intimately involved in approving and editing mailings coming from his office as well as approving the high volume of mail.
In a sign of more bad news to come, Hagedorn has hired an ethics lawyer known for his defense of former Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Aaron Schock – both of whom were criminally charged and forced to resign due to their misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Here’s a look at what ethics experts have to say about Hagedorn funneling taxpayer dollars to an employee:
HEADLINE: Hagedorn violated House rules, ethics expert says [Rochester Post Bulletin, 8/26/20]
“‘I imagine the (House) Ethics Committee will look into it, and it certainly sounds like they should,’ said Donald Sherman, deputy director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW. ‘There’s clear violations here, and they certainly deserve to be examined.” [Rochester Post Bulletin, 8/16/20]
“Well that’s a problem,” said Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, a bipartisan democracy reform nonprofit. “Anyone who is in your employ in any shape or form, you shouldn’t be doing business with.” [Minnesota Reformer, 8/15/20]
“This is like neon signs flashing red signals all over the place,” said Norm Ornstein, a government ethics expert and resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “This is a real test of the Ethics process. If you don’t crack down on something like this, you’ve really lost your way as an Ethics Committee.” [Minnesota Reformer, 8/15/20]
“An ethics inquiry would hardly come as a surprise, according to half a dozen ethics experts contacted for this report. House ethics rules prohibit a congressman from doing business with a member of his staff.” [Minnesota Reformer, 8/19/20]
“Craig Holman, a lobbyist and ethics expert with the watchdog group Public Citizen, said at Martin’s news conference that he believes Hagedorn violated House rules on spending their office budgets. “They cannot be used for personal benefit of the lawmaker, the lawmaker’s family or any staff member of the lawmaker,” he said.” [Associated Press, 8/26/20]
“Bryson Morgan, a lawyer who spent several years as an investigative counsel with the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, said… ‘I think it’s pretty clear that a member’s office should not be spending [member’s representational allowance] hiring a business that is owned by a person on the congressional staff… I think that’s a pretty clear violation of the handbook.’” [Minnesota Star Tribune, 8/25/20]