Ethics panel releases details in ongoing probe of Rep. Schweikert

Apr 18, 2019, 7:30 PM | Updated: 7:38 pm
The House Ethics Committee is reportedly looking into payments by the campaign of Rep. David Schwei...
The House Ethics Committee is reportedly looking into payments by the campaign of Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills, to his Capitol Hill chief of staff. (Cronkite News Photo/Katie Bieri)
(Cronkite News Photo/Katie Bieri)

WASHINGTON – The House Ethics Committee on Wednesday released details of its probe of Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills, that began last year finding “substantial reason to believe” he may have approved improper office expenditures and campaign contributions.

Under committee rules, the original report of the Office of Congressional Ethics had to be released because it has gone more than a year without resolution.

That report, which kicked off the committee’s investigation, said Schweikert’s failure to oversee the expenditures may have violated “House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”

In releasing the April 2018 report Wednesday, the Ethics Committee was careful to note that continuing the investigation “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

Critics were not so reticent.

“Arizonans in CD-6 (Schweikert’s district) can’t afford to be represented any longer by someone who so blatantly puts his own self-interest ahead of his constituents,” said Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Les Braswell in a statement that added Schweikert’s campaign “is nearly as bankrupt as his character.”

But political consultant Mike Noble, who once worked for Schweikert, said he would be surprised if the investigation ultimately turns up anything.

“He’s probably one of the most ethical, by-the-book people I’ve ever met. He’s a very traditional, fiscally conservative Republican,” Noble said of Schweikert.

“I guess nothing is out of the realm of possibility but I’d be very surprised to say the least.”

Requests for comment from Schweikert’s office were not immediately returned Wednesday. But Schweikert in the past has dismissed the claims in the investigation as little more than a bookkeeping error he was confident would be cleared up.

In an interview with Fox News last year, Schweikert said the error was “my fault. Our fault. We should have caught it.”

Noble said Wednesday that “if there was an issue it would be a staff issue.”

Despite claims that it was just an oversight, however, Federal Election Commission reports filed this week showed the Schweikert’s campaign owes more than $200,000 in legal fees.

Politico reported that most of the legal fees are owed to a law firm that specializes in campaign finance matters.

The investigation turns on payments to Chartwell, a political consulting firm that was run by Oliver Schwab, Schweikert’s former chief of staff.

In FEC reports last year, Schweikert’s campaign reported $181,637.09 in expenditures to Chartwell and another $50,372.14 in reimbursements from the company to the campaign, possibly exceeding the amount congressional staffers can earn in outside pay.

Noble said he could “see why some might think” that the legal bill reported by Schweikert’s campaign indicates more trouble than the five-term House member is letting on.

“If you’re looking at it, then of course if it’s not a big issue then why is there such a large amount of legal bills?” Noble asked.

But Noble said he does not think constituents in Schweikert’s traditionally red district will see it that way.

“I don’t think it is a nail on the coffin by any stretch,” Noble said. “He’ll just have to work a little harder on his re-election.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Facebook Photo)...

Arizona Sens. Karen Fann, Kelly Townsend subpoenaed by DOJ over Jan. 6 insurrection

Republican Arizona Sens. Karen Fann and Sen. Kelly Townsend have been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice regarding a probe into alleged actions by former President Donald Trump’s campaign surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
16 hours ago
A WWII ear landing craft used to transport troops or tanks was revealed on the shoreline near the L...
Associated Press

World War II-era boat emerges from shrinking Lake Mead

A sunken boat dating back to World War II is the latest object to emerge from a shrinking reservoir that straddles Nevada and Arizona.
16 hours ago
Sgt. Rick Lopez (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Photos)...

Memorial service for fallen Yavapai County sergeant to be held at arena

A memorial service for fallen Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Richard Lopez was scheduled for next week at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
16 hours ago
(YouTube Screenshot/Governor Ned Lamont)...
Danny Shapiro

Connecticut woos Arizona businesses unhappy with state’s abortion law

Connecticut’s top politicians are inviting Arizona businesses to relocate if they are unhappy with the Grand Canyon State’s restrictive abortion laws following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.
16 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...

Police exchange late-night gunfire with man on Phoenix street

Police in Phoenix exchanged gunfire with a man late Thursday and later found him wounded at a home, where they took him into custody.
16 hours ago
The late Sen. John McCain and former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords were selected to receive the Presiden...
Kevin Stone

John McCain, Gabby Giffords to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

A prominent pair of Arizona political figures, the late Sen. John McCain and former Rep. Gabby Giffords, will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom next week.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Ethics panel releases details in ongoing probe of Rep. Schweikert