2 congressmen caught up in ethics probes

Dec. 15, 2012 at 8:17 PM
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CHICAGO, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Two congressmen, Aaron Schock, R-Ill., and Bill Owens, D-N.Y., are under investigation for possible ethics breaches, the House Ethics Committee says.

The allegations against Schock, the youngest member of Congress when he was first elected in 2008, involve a $25,000 donation to his Super PAC from a political action committee controlled by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the Chicago Tribune reported. The Federal Election Commission is investigating whether Schock violated rules barring elected officials from soliciting more than $5,000 for Super PACs, and the ethics panel would not say if its investigation goes beyond that issue.

Owens is under scrutiny for a trip he took to Taiwan in 2011, Politico reported. The trip was allegedly paid for by lobbyists for the Chinese Culture University of Taiwan.

Schock, a conservative elected to the Peoria school board at 19, won a third term in November, beating a Democratic challenger by almost 3-1.

The committee announced the investigations Friday.

"We remain confident that this matter will be resolved positively," Schock's office said in an email to the Tribune.

Owens told Politico he and his wife traveled to Taiwan seeking investment for his district, which includes parts of the Syracuse area and a wide swath of northern New York.

"I hold myself and my office to the highest of ethical standards," he said. "Which is why, in abundance of caution, I have already personally reimbursed the sponsor of the trip for the cost."

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