Ethics panel clears lawmakers in 2013 Azerbaijan trip

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The House Ethics Committee said it has found no evidence of wrongdoing by nine members of Congress who went on a 2013 trip to Azerbaijan paid for by that country's government.

The ethics panel said Friday that the lawmakers obtained prior approval for the trip from the ethics panel "in good faith" and did not know that two groups that claimed to sponsor the trip had apparently lied about the true source of their funding.

The Washington Post reported in May that Azerbaijan's state-owned oil company allegedly paid $750,000 to cover travel expenses and gifts for the lawmakers by sending funds through two nonprofit corporations.

The ethics panel said it could not determine the truth of those claims, in part because the groups refused to cooperate with investigators.