Campaign 2010

May 30, 2013

Bachmann Bails: Which Ethically Challenged Republican is Next?

With Congresswoman Michele Bachmann leaving Congress in disgrace under an ethics cloud, which Republican House Members are most likely to follow suit? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put together a handy list of the ethically challenged Republicans who are most likely to leave under suspicion of wrongdoing.

Whether it’s facing investigations from the IRS for evading taxes or the FBI for tainted donations, more than half a dozen House Republicans are facing ethics investigations or have paid fines for their ethically challenged behavior.  

  • Congressman Vern Buchanan – under investigation by the IRS for financial improprieties.
  • Congressman Michael Grimm – under investigation by the FBI for campaign fundraising improprieties.
  • Congressman Aaron Schock – under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
  • Congressman Rodney Davis – refused to comply with Office of Congressional Ethics investigation.
  •  Congressman Scott DesJarlais – fined after investigation by Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.
  • Congressman Jim Renacci – after refusing to pay his taxes, is still refusing to pay the fine.
  • Congressman Mark Sanford – paid fee after admitting to trespassing at his ex-wife’s home.


Congressman Buchanan is Under Investigation by the IRS for Alleged “Financial Improprieties.” “Federal inquiries surrounding Mr. Buchanan appear to be widening, as investigators examine allegations that his companies improperly reimbursed contributors to his campaigns and claimed improper tax deductions and that he failed to include all his varied financial interests in his Congressional disclosure reports […] agents for the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service recently contacted former employees alleging financial improprieties by Mr. Buchanan, who owns a number of auto dealerships throughout Florida and elsewhere and is one of the richest members of Congress. A federal grand jury in Tampa is hearing evidence in the case as well.” [New York Times, 2/23/12]

FBI Investigating Congressman Grimm’s Campaign Fundraising. According to the New York Daily News: “The FBI has questioned at least four people who worked on Congressman Michael Grimm’s 2010 campaign as part of its ongoing probe into allegations the Tea Party favorite took illegal election donations. […] The four, either campaign operatives and volunteers, were questioned in the past two weeks. In one case, the interview was conducted by a federal tag team that included an Assistant U.S. Attorney, sources told the Daily News. The FBI opened an inquiry into the Republican’s fund-raising after members of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s New York congregation complained he was strong-arming them for donations, as the New York Times reported in January.” [New York Daily News6/20/12]

Congressman Aaron Schock Alleged to Have Illegally Solicited Donations for a Republican Super PAC. According to Politico: “The allegations against Schock stemmed from a bitter GOP primary battle in Illinois last year between Rep. Adam Kinzinger and former Rep. Don Mazullo. Schock backed Kinzinger in the primary, and he began asking other members like Cantor for campaign contributions in order to run TV ads supporting Kinzinger. The money, including a $25,000 donation from Cantor’s leadership fund, was funneled to a super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which spent more than $200,000 on the race on Kinzinger’s behalf.” [Politico, 2/06/13]

Office of Congressional Ethics Recommended That Rodney Davis be Subpoenaed For Failure to Cooperate in Schock Ethics Investigation. The Office of Congressional Ethics recommended in its report to the House Ethics Committee that Davis be subpoenaed in its investigation, since Davis has refused to cooperate with the probe. The OCE does not have subpoena power. [News Gazette, 2/8/11]

  • OCE Concluded That “There is Substantial Reason to Believe That the Alleged Violation Occurred” Because of Davis’ Refusal to Cooperate. The Office of Congressional Ethics report said that “the OCE draws a negative inference from Mr. Davis’ refusal to cooperate with the OCE. The OCE infers that the information Mr. Davis refused to provide, taken together with the factual findings in this referral, supports the conclusion that there is substantial reason to believe that the alleged violation occurred.” [News Gazette, 2/8/11]

Congressman Scott DesJarlais Was Forced to Pay Fine “For Sexual Relationships He Had With Two Female Patients.” According to the Times Free Press “Tennessee's top medical disciplinary panel fined licensed physician and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais $500 for sexual relationships he had with two female patients, inspiring critics to say the punishment didn't fit the crime.” [Times Free Press, 5/24/13]

Congressman Jim Renacci Tried to Shelter Income, Assessed $1.4 Million in Taxes and Penalties. In June 2007, Renacci and his wife filed an appeal with the Board of Tax Appeals in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals against a finding for an almost $1.4 million assessment for income taxes. The tax commissioner calculated $954,650 in tax; $146,938 in interest; and $293,876 in penalty. The Renaccis appealed the entire $1,395,464 assessment to the Board of Tax Appeals in June 2006. [Ninth Judicial District Court of Appeals, Case No. 07CA0061-M; Cleveland Plain Dealer10/19/12

  • Headline: Rep. Jim Renacci is still disputing $359,822 tax penalty from 2000 [Cleveland Plain Dealer10/19/12]

Sanford Admitted to Trespassing at his Ex-Wife’s Home and Agreed to Pay Ex-Wife’s Legal Fees Stemming from the Incident. The Columbia Patch Reported: “According to WCBD-TV, Mark Sanford in court papers admitted to trespassing at Jenny Sanford's beachfront Sullivan's Island home when he visited his son on Feb. 3 to watch the Super Bowl. He has agreed to pay his ex-wife's attorney's fees.” [Columbia Patch, 5/08/13]

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