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Watchdog: W. Va. Rep. Mooney likely broke rules with Aruba trip

A congressional watchdog has determined that Rep. Alex Mooney likely broke House rules when the...
A congressional watchdog has determined that Rep. Alex Mooney likely broke House rules when the West Virginia Republican accepted a trip to Aruba allegedly paid for by a campaign client and family friend.(Alex Mooney Twitter)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 2:42 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (AP) - A congressional watchdog has determined that Rep. Alex Mooney likely broke House rules when the West Virginia Republican accepted a trip to Aruba allegedly paid for by a campaign client and family friend.

The latest allegations are included in a statement released Monday by the House Ethics Committee.

The committee says it’s extending the review of an Office of Congressional Ethics report sent in December.

The report says HSP Direct allegedly paid for a trip for Mooney’s family to Aruba in March 2021.

Mooney’s office issued a statement saying he’s fully reimbursed the company.

Mooney will face Democrat Barry Wendell in November’s general election.

STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF REP. ALEX X. MOONEY

Rep. Alex X. Mooney Statement on Release of Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) Report

OCE Report contains “rampant factual misrepresentations, evidentiary exaggerations, and plainly wrong legal conclusions.”

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) review of Congressman Alexander Mooney, described in the OCE Report and Findings released today by the Committee on Ethics, was tainted from the outset by the OCE’s procedural irregularities and denial of due process.  These procedural improprieties are compounded by the OCE’s rampant factual misrepresentations, evidentiary exaggerations, and plainly wrong legal conclusions in its report.  For these reasons, Congressman Mooney believes the only fair outcome in this matter would be the outright dismissal of the OCE’s report and referral.  Nonetheless, as the Committee on Ethics continues to review this matter, Congressman Mooney pledges his continuing cooperation with the Committee.

Congressman Mooney has detailed to the Committee on Ethics the numerous procedural improprieties, factual and evidentiary shortcomings, and mistaken legal conclusions tainting the OCE’s review, report, and findings.  Congressman Mooney does wish to address publicly two sets of allegations.

--- First, regarding a family trip to Aruba – allegedly paid in large part by a company owned by a long-time family friend –Congressman Mooney, with the knowledge of the Committee on Ethics, 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. No taxpayer funds were used to pay for this trip. Congressman Mooney will work with the Committee on Ethics to resolve any outstanding questions.

--- Second, Congressman Mooney flatly rejects the OCE’s allegations of evidence tampering and false statements.  These allegations are prime examples – but far from the only examples – of the OCE reaching biased conclusions against Congressman Mooney based on exaggerated “evidence” that does not even satisfy the OCE’s low burden of proof.  In fact, the OCE acknowledges in its report that its allegation of so-called “tampering” is based on the testimony of witnesses who expressed concern about the accuracy of their recollection of events.  “If that even happened,” one confused witness told the OCE.  This kind of investigative lapse, and blatant bias, is routine in the OCE report released today.

It should be noted that Rep. Mooney has been and will continue to be in cooperation with the committee. Congressman Mooney looks forward to working with the Committee on Ethics to resolve these matters.

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