House ethics panel reviewing conduct of Bachmann, 3 other reps

Published July 26, 2013

| FoxNews.com

The House Ethics Committee on Friday announced it is continuing to review the conduct of four members of Congress, including former presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. 

The committee announced on Friday it had received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent investigative body, and said in a brief statement it would continue to look into Bachmann's case. The committee says it will announce its course of action in September and notes that an extension does not in itself indicate an ethics violation. 

A lawyer for Bachmann had previously acknowledged the investigation by the OCE and said that Bachmann was cooperating. That probe is focused in part on her short-lived presidential bid. Sources told Fox News it involves the use of campaign funds from her presidential bid -- among the allegations are that she took aides on a tour to promote her book, a prohibited use for campaign funds. 

Bachmann's attorney Bill McGinley defended the Minnesota congresswoman in a statement Friday. 

"(The ethics committee announcement) does not speak to the merits of this matter, and any inference to the contrary is false," he said. "We are confident the Committee will discover, upon proper review, that the highly politicized allegations made at the OCE level were baseless and without merit." 

The committee also said it is reviewing the conduct of Reps. John Tierney, D-Mass.; Tim Bishop, D-N.Y.; and Pete Roskam, R-Ill. 

The panel does not identify the reasons for the investigations. During the election campaign last year Tierney was beset by a gambling scandal involving his wife and two brothers-in-law. 

Bishop was the focus of complaints last year when he helped get fireworks permits for a bar mitzvah. The request came from a businessman who later donated $5,000 to Bishop's campaign. 

Bishop's opponent questioned whether that violated House ethics rules, and Bishop wound up donating that amount to veterans' groups.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/26/house-ethics-panel-reviewing-conduct-bachmann-3-other-reps/