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Rep. Berkley faces ethics probe

July 10, 2012 at 1:20 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- The House Ethics Committee said Monday it will investigate U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is running for the Senate seat held by Dean Heller.

The committee said it is looking into whether Berkley used her position in Congress, in violation of House rules, to benefit her husband, The Hill reported. Dr. Laurence Lehrner is a nephrologist in Las Vegas, and news stories have suggested Berkley supported higher Medicare reimbursement rates and the retention of a liver transplant program to help her husband's business.

Berkley is the Democratic nominee challenging GOP Sen. Dean Heller, who was appointed to the seat when Republican John Ensign resigned after a corruption scandal.

"It speaks volumes that even Shelley Berkley's Democrat colleagues unanimously voted to move forward investigating Berkley's use of her office to enrich her and her husband," said Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "Since Berkley entered the political arena we've seen a long pattern of ethical questions surrounding her conduct. Nevadans deserve someone in the Senate who they can trust to work on their behalf and not someone -- like Ms. Berkley -- who puts her own financial and political interests first."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a statement saying its "support for her campaign remains as strong as ever."

A spokeswoman for the Berkley campaign said the investigation will show her "one and only concern was for the health and well-being of Nevada's patients."

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