Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

Ethics Committee Continues Investigation Into Gutierrez

immigration hearing018 0205131 445x297 Ethics Committee Continues Investigation Into Gutierrez

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Monday that it is continuing an investigation into Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez’s former employment of a lobbyist.

In a 177-page report detailing the charges against the Illinois Democrat, he is accused of improperly paying his former chief of staff, Doug Scofield, more than $590,000 from his Members’ Representational Allowance to train staff. Gutiérrez’s office paid Scofield between $4,500 and $6,000 a month between 2003 and 2013.

In the report, which was prepared by the Office of Congressional Ethics, Gutiérrez is accused of compensating his former chief of staff for “impermissible services.” The OCE report charges that Scofield was reviewing and drafting speeches, drafting letters to administration officials, advising Gutiérrez on legislative strategies, helping set up a district office and generally serving in a capacity beyond what is allowed.

According to the report, Scofield left Gutiérrez’s office after a 10-year stint as the congressman’s chief of staff. Shortly after leaving in 2002, Scofield set up The Scofield Company, which became a registered lobbying entity, and Scofield became a registered lobbyist.

While Scofield signed a contract to provide “non-legislative, general office services,” the report details instances where Scofield acted in a manner inconsistent with that heading.

Gutiérrez says in his own testimony that Scofield was the type of person he could call at 1 a.m. to draft a speech for the next day, and, in an email, the congressman writes that his communications director should coordinate absences with Scofield “to ensure that my office always has press and communications’ coverage.”

While Scofield did not testify before the OCE, emails obtained by the committee show him playing an active role in legislative decision-making.

Scofield sent an email on Nov. 14, 2012, asking staffers what the congressman’s next steps were on immigration, inquiring whether there was a reason “we” don’t want to contact pro-immigration groups and send out a release saying Gutiérrez was releasing his own immigration bill.

“I don’t think we want to be second on this, or give the President too much time to ask everyone to sit around and wait for his plan,” Scofield wrote.

While the report may seem damning, Gutierrez was decidedly glass-is-half-full Monday.

He released a statement that started with this cheery, if not misleading, declaration: “Today’s announcement by the Committee reveals that it will not convene a special ethics panel.”

It is true that the Ethics Committee has not voted to empanel an investigative subcommittee. But that may still be coming. The chairman and ranking member of the Ethics Committee, K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., announced they were continuing to gather information. The release of the OCE report was mandated today if the Ethics Committee didn’t announce that the committee had voted to empanel an investigative subcommmittee.

Still, Gutiérrez’s office was focusing on the positive: The review ”does not indicate that any violation has occurred or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

  • HelpSaveMaryland

    Hey Luis, maybe you should have hired an illegal alien instead of Doug Scofield. The Feds would have waived all the charges against you of wrong doing by now.

  • YONATAN C

    The Republican party and their cronies have done themselves a great disservice by holding the extension bill hostage since late last December. While they continued delaying and rejecting each proposal submitted in the senate, millions of families have suffered adversely financially. Millions of families have faced eviction, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy, and homelessness, while the republican senate played “party politics”, using these families as bargaining chips, for political leverage, to further their political agenda. These are people with children who are suffering for no fault of their own, because of lay offs and corporate downsizing. These are not the “lazy” unemployed workers depicted in the press by some republicans in the senate. It’s always easy to point blame at others for failures, rather to one’s own self for failed policies. Remember, it wasn’t the poor and unemployed that caused our economy “meltdown” several years ago. It was the greedy bankers that were responsible, and needed bailing out with taxpayer’s dollars. Which after the bail outs, gave each other huge bonuses. Now the republican party, with senators such as John Boehner, are holding the much needed help for these families as leverage for the passing of their OIL bill in the senate. Sadly, this is what it all comes down to. I hope the republicans are prepared for the tremendous backlash by these millions of families and their loved ones in the coming elections. They may not care at the moment, but I assure you that they will realized their mistake when the democrats win by another landslide. The republicans have proven themselves to represent only the interests of a chosen few in our great country

    • Mike Mason

      Your post is pure propaganda and lies. You never mention the millions of American citizens these illegal invaders put out of jobs and were made homeless and what happened to their children. There is not a thing broken about our immigration laws only the will to enforce them.These are the same people that were marching in the streets of the USA waving the buzzard rag and chanting Yes We Can and Viva La Raza. You talk about the backlash by these millions of family’s. Did anyone ever tell you it is a felony for a person to vote who is not a citizen? These same people broke the law crossing the border illegally then committed ID theft and now vote fraud. So please tell us more about how the Democrats are planing to use vote fraud to win a election.

  • Igor Shafarevich

    Since our individual pursuits are guided by our own opinions of conditions and circumstances, and the results of our efforts cannot be predicted, questions regarding the justice of resulting incomes are meaningless.

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...