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Conservative Review

The House Ethics Committee is looking into a freshman Dem under scrutiny for campaign finance allegations

The House Ethics Committee announced Monday afternoon that it is extending its review into the case of Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., a freshman House member who is facing criticism for allegedly mishandling finances in her 2018 race.

A statement from Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutsch, D-Fla., and ranking member Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, said that the panel first received the case referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) on September 18. OCE's third quarter report for this year explains that the committee had reached the deadline where it had to choose to either release the referral, take an extra 45 days, or empanel an investigative subcommittee.

Trahan has come under fire from watchdog groups over a last-minute cash boost her campaign got during a heated primary election that she won by just 145 votes. According to complaints, she didn't disclose that some of the money came from a joint bank account with her husband until after the election.

“Representative Trahan’s repeated failure to properly disclose her assets was at best grossly negligent, and at worst a willful and deceitful effort to conceal those assets and campaign funding in direct violation of federal law,” reads an April statement from Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), who lodged a complaint with OCE.

Prior to that, the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint about Trahan with the Federal Election Commission.

“In this case, the candidate spent a very large amount of money at the last minute of her primary — which she won by an extremely small margin," CLC chief of staff Adav Noti told the Lowell Sun, "so the money may have made the difference in that election, and there are very serious questions about where that money came from and whether the candidate concealed the sources of the funds from the public.”

Following a Boston Globe story about her soaring legal costs last week, Trahan acknowledged that $300,000 of the last-minute cash came from her husband's income and wrote, "I now know that the way I contributed those funds constitute a gray area in campaign finance law."

The statement adds, "Last year, I discovered that my campaign made several errors in our personal financial disclosure statements and federal election reports. For many first time candidates like myself, this is common."

The Ethics Committee has until December 17 to decide what it course of action it will take in Trahan's case.

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