As a member of Congress, it usually does not bode well when an official ethics report is published about you that has an entire section devoted to ‘duties related to the family dog’.
But that’s the situation for Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), a top Donald Trump ally in Congress.
On Monday, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a detailed report that found “substantial reason” to believe Mooney committed a number of ethical violations — possibly even violations of federal law — during his tenure.
Among other things, according to the OCE, Mooney may have “accepted a free or below-market trip to Aruba,” used taxpayer money for unauthorized purposes, and used employees for campaign work and “personal errands.” In addition, he may have “withheld, withheld, or falsified” information provided to ethics officials during the course of the investigation.
Some of the evidence contained in the 54-page report, informed through interviews with nine current and former Mooney employees, paints a damning picture of the congressman’s apparent willingness to dedicate taxpayer-funded resources to serve himself and his family.
Congressional ethics rules clearly state that employees may not perform anything other than “legitimate, official activities” for lawmakers during work hours — and authorities even suggest that lawmakers reimburse the US Treasury Department for all personal duties of employees.
But several Mooney employees said they had to perform a variety of basic and complicated family chores instead of — or in addition to — their official duties, including babysitting Mooney’s children, driving to and from school, watching her dog, and the Chauffeur congressmen long distances for personal reasons.
A former employee said they drove Mooney over 250 miles in one afternoon, taking him from Washington to Richmond, Virginia, to his son’s basketball game and then back to West Virginia. Another employee drove from their home in Northern Virginia to Charles Town, West Virginia to walk the Mooneys’ dog, Skipper, while the family was away.
Legislators and employees must also adhere to strict rules that separate their official, taxpayer-funded governmental duties from their campaigning and re-election work. The report describes how Mooney employees planned fundraisers and other campaign events during official business hours.
With the release of the OCE report, the House Ethics Committee will review Mooney’s conduct and consider whether it merits formal punishment.
Luckily for Mooney, however, his messy and expensive primary against Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) is in the rearview mirror. On May 3, Mooney defeated McKinley by more than 20 points and had been expected to cruise for re-election in a heavily Republican district.
Mooney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The OCE report also states that it did not cooperate with the bureau’s investigation.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/maga-rep-alex-mooney-accused-of-making-staff-drive-hundreds-of-miles-to-walk-his-dog?source=articles&via=rss MAGA MP Alex Mooney is accused of making staffers drive hundreds of miles to walk his dog