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Rep. Reyes accused of ethics lapse

Nov. 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- There is substantial reason to believe U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, broke campaign rules or laws, an ethics panel report said Wednesday.

The House ethics committee released a report by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics Wednesday that found Reyes held campaign events on House property and used campaign funds to pay for his daughter's personal expenses, the Washington publication Roll Call reported.

The OCE report said that since Reyes did not cooperate in the office's review, the board "draws a negative inference from that refusal to cooperate."

"The committee notes that the mere fact of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such a referral, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee," ethics Chairman Jo Bonner, R-Ala., and ranking member Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., said in a joint release.

The committee did not indicate whether it intends to further investigate the matter or drop it, Roll Call said.

"This may be the end of the matter," said Karl Sandstrom, Reyes' attorney. "The committee may be satisfied that the OCE referral and the response are on the record."

A spokesman for the congressman called the allegations "unsupported" and Reyes has represented his district with the "highest level of integrity."

"We are pleased that the Ethics Committee took no further action on this matter while making clear that the fact of OCE's referral did not indicate that any violation occurred," spokesman Jose Borjon said.

Reyes, 68, was first elected to Congress in 1996. He lost his bid for re-election this year when he lost the Democratic primary to former El Paso City Councilman Beto O'Rourke, who went on to win the general election this month.

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