Rep. Laura Richardson to be reprimanded

Aug. 1, 2012 at 4:20 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The House Ethics Committee Wednesday recommended the full House reprimand Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., for making her staff work on her election campaign.

The panel said its investigative subcommittee determined unanimously there was substantial reason to believe Richardson violated the House's ethics code "by improperly using House resources for campaign, personal and non-official purposes by requiring or compelling her official staff to perform campaign work." It also found she likely obstructed the investigation "through the alteration or destruction of evidence, the deliberate failure to produce documents ... and attempting to influence the testimony of witnesses."

The committee said in a statement posted on its official Web site Richardson, 50, a three-term congresswoman, "agreed to admit to all seven counts in the statement of alleged violation," accept the subcommittee's recommendations and waive all further procedural rights.

In addition to the public reprimand, Richardson is to pay a $10,000 fine no later than Dec. 1.

The full committee also unanimously agreed to strongly discourage Richardson from permitting any of her official staff to perform work on her campaign, either on a paid or volunteer basis. It said if any of her staff do work on her campaign, they must sign a waiver asserting they are doing so voluntarily and are not being compelled by Richardson.

The Los Angeles Times noted Richardson is in a tight race with fellow Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn in a newly drawn district.

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