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House Ethics Committee announces investigation of Rep. Henry Cuellar

By Mike Heuer
Rep. Henry Cuellar, R-Tex., and his wife have pleaded not guilty to 14 counts alleging they accepted $508,000 from foreign entities in Mexico and Azerbaijan. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Rep. Henry Cuellar, R-Tex., and his wife have pleaded not guilty to 14 counts alleging they accepted $508,000 from foreign entities in Mexico and Azerbaijan. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

May 29 (UPI) -- Following his April 30 federal indictment in a bribery case, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Tex., will undergo a House Ethics Committee investigation.

"Within 30 days of a member being indicted or otherwise formally charged with criminal conduct, the committee shall either establish an investigative subcommittee or report to the House describing its reasons for not establishing an investigative subcommittee," House Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., and Ranking Member Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said in a joint statement Wednesday.

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Ethics Committee members unanimously voted to establish an investigative subcommittee to "determine whether Rep. Cuellar solicited or accepted bribes, gratuities or improper gifts," the statement read.

The subcommittee also will investigate whether Cuellar acted as a foreign agent, violated federal money laundering laws, misused his official position for private gain or made false statements or omissions on public disclosure statements that he filed with the House.

"I respect the work of the House Ethics Committee," Cuellar said in a statement Wednesday.

"I am innocent of these allegations," he continued. "Everything I have done in Congress has been to serve the people of South Texas."

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Guest will chair the subcommittee while Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md., will serve as its ranking member.

The two other subcommittee members are Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., and Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa.

"The committee is aware of the risks associated with dual investigations," Guest and Wild said, "and is in communication with the Department of Justice to mitigate the potential risks while still meeting the committee's obligations to safeguard the integrity of the House."

The Justice Department indicted Cuellar and his wife, Imelda, on 14 counts for allegedly accepting $508,000 from foreign entities.

The foreign entities include a bank in Mexico and an Azerbaijan-controlled oil and gas company.

The Cuellars both pleaded not guilty to the 14 counts against them in the federal indictment and posted a $100,000 bond.

The federal case is in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

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