Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) is the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation less than two weeks after defeating a fellow House Republican in the primary.
The Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday released a 54-page report saying that Mooney may have used campaign funds for personal use. The report said the lawmaker may have accepted “a free or below-market-value trip to Aruba, as well as free lodging and event space from a company that provides services to his campaign committee.”
ALEX MOONEY BEATS HOUSE GOP COLLEAGUE DAVID MCKINLEY IN WEST VIRGINIA PRIMARY
The report said there is “substantial reason to believe” Mooney accepted such gifts, which “may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
The report also said Mooney “routinely diverted official resources and staff time away from his constituents and official duties in favor of his and his family’s personal needs and sometimes for campaign activities,” in part by using staff for “personal needs.”
The report was referred to the House Ethics Committee for investigation. In a statement, Mooney’s office called the investigation "tainted" by "procedural irregularities and denial of due process." It said he would cooperate with the committee.
Mooney's office also said in regard to the trip to Aruba, Mooney "has reimbursed the company for what the Congressman believes to be more than the value of any gift to him."
"There was no improper connection between any gift and any official action by the Congressman," the statement said. "No taxpayer funds were used to pay for this trip."
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Mooney defeated Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) in a member vs. member primary earlier this month, a contest in which former President Donald Trump endorsed Mooney.
Both McKinley and Mooney represent West Virginia districts, but the state’s redistricting process shrunk the Mountain State’s three-member delegation to two after the recent census found heavy population loss over the past decade in the state.