A recent letter in this paper praised federal Representative David Schweikert for ending the ethics investigation into his fundraising and other behavior. The letter stated that Schweikert accepted responsibility and that any wrongdoing was by Schweikert’s staff.
The writer should read the 103-page report from the House Investigative Subcommittee (ethics.house.gov). It found that:
*From 2010 to 2018 Schweikert misreported fundraising activities, including non-existent contributions to his campaign offset by phony invoices for expenses never made.
*His government-paid staff was pressured to contribute to his election fund. One employee’s salary was cut and he was told that continued employment depended on raising campaign funds. Schweikert both “directly and indirectly” pressured staff to perform work for his campaign. Such behavior is absolutely illegal.
*He never produced some documents. He delayed producing other documents requested by the investigators. The report states, “Schweikert’s overall lack of candor and diligence in connection with the investigation compromised the ability to investigate the allegations.”
*He obstructed the investigation by guiding investigators to public campaign reports, knowing the reports were false. After much delay, he did admit the truth and produce the requested records.
*As a consequence of his obstruction, Schweikert avoided even more charges because the statute of limitations had run.
*The errors were not due to his staff. Investigators found that Schweikert was a “direct participant” in much of the wrongdoing. “Some of the most serious allegations were instead the result of direct conduct by Representative Schweikert and his spouse.”
*He did not accept responsibility. He continued to blame staff and outside consultants. He blamed the investigators – they should have told him they had incriminating evidence when he was allowed to lie to them.