House Ethics Committee Clears Rep. Shuler in Real Estate Inquiry

The House Ethics Committee has cleared Rep. Health Shuler of any wrongdoing for investing in a real estate development that may have received preferential treatment from a government agency.

In a letter released Wednesday, the committee said it was dropping its probe of the North Carolina Democrat after concluding that his actions in a land deal involving the Tennessee Valley Authority "were not improper in any way and did not violate House rules."

Shuler, a former quarterback for the Washington Redskins, welcomed the news.

"Throughout my personal and professional life I have always held myself to the highest possible ethical standard," he said in a written statement. "I have never and will never attempt to use my office for personal gain and look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the people of Western North Carolina."

The Tennessee Valley Authority's inspector general began the probe into Shuler's role in the real estate development known as the Cove at Blackberry Ridge and said in June that there was no evidence that the lawmaker used his position to pressure the agency.

But the inspector general forwarded its report to the Ethics Committee because it has no jurisdiction over Congress.

That report found that "in order to avoid the appearance of partiality, Blackberry was held to a higher standard for approval than were others."