ethics

GOP members confirm Bernhardt met with group tied to ex-client
Democrats might be focusing on meetings and calls kept off Interior secretary’s official calendar

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt testifies during his Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing on March 28, 2019. (File photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on two House committees probing Interior Secretary David Bernhardt acknowledged in a report Thursday that the attorney and former energy lobbyist appeared to have met with the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, a trade group affiliated with a former Bernhardt client.

The joint report from Republican staff on the House Oversight and Reform, and Natural Resources committees also said ethics officials at the Interior Department approved the meeting with the trade group. The report, by acknowledging the meeting, may also indicate where the majority Democrats are focusing their examination into whether Bernhardt kept phone calls and meetings with industry representatives and groups off his public calendar.

Democrats tried to ‘blackmail’ casino owner to let employees unionize, conservative group claims
Lawmakers say ethics accusations by Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust are baseless

Rep. Mark Pocan, D- Wisc., speaks with reporters as he leaves a House Democrats' caucus meeting in February. Pocan is one of 14 Democrats who wrote a letter to a casino mogul that a conservative ethics watchdog group says was part of an effort to coerce him to allow employees to unionize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conservative watchdog group asked the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday to review whether 14 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican inappropriately used their office to try to coerce a Las Vegas casino mogul into allowing his employees to unionize.

In May, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan and 13 other Democrats wrote a letter to Frank Fertitta III, the CEO of the Las Vegas-based casino management company Red Rock Resorts Inc., urging him to “respect the rights of employees” at the company “to form a union and collectively bargain.”

Trying to conceal tax returns, Trump sees political coordination in subpoenas
President accuses New York officials of working with House Democrats to damage him

President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the release of his state tax returns. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool file photo)

President Donald Trump says New York Attorney General Letitia James is “closely coordinating with House Democrats in a joint effort to obtain and expose” the president’s tax returns and financial information.

The allegation came in a filing Monday in federal district court in Washington as Trump amended the July 23 lawsuit he brought to block James and Michael R. Schmidt, commissioner of New York state’s Department of Taxation and Finance, from providing the president’s state tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

Trump appointees routinely bullied State Department staffers, IG reports
Numerous employees subjected to ‘disrespectful,’ ‘hostile’ and ‘inappropriate’ treatment

Two top officials at the State Department engaged in "generally unprofessional behavior" toward staffers, the inspector general's report found. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

A long-awaited investigation by the State Department’s inspector general concluded in a report released Thursday that multiple career employees were subjected to “disrespectful,” “hostile” and “inappropriate” treatment at the hands of political appointees.

The review specifically focused on allegations of political retaliation against career employees at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which leads and coordinates U.S. policy toward the United Nations. For over a year, House and Senate Democrats have pushed for a thorough investigation into whistleblower complaints and news reports that political appointees were vetting career employees at the State Department and retaliating against those they deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump and his administration’s conservative agenda.

Matt Gaetz says Florida Bar finds ‘no probable cause’ he violated rules with Cohen tweet
Florida Republican had appeared to intimidate ex-Trump lawyer with February tweet

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, right, says the state bar is taking “no disciplinary action” against him for a February tweet directed at former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Matt Gaetz announced Wednesday that the Florida Bar had found “no probable cause” that he violated the rules of his profession over a tweet that appeared to intimidate President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

“They are taking no disciplinary action against me & are sending a letter of advice,” the Florida Republican tweeted. Gaetz is licensed to practice law in the Sunshine State.

Sen. Ted Cruz gifted Houston Rockets tickets worth $12K
Texas Republican was criticized for cursing the team in last year’s Game 7 loss to the Warriors

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz received over $12,000 worth of Houston Rockets tickets in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Sen. Ted Cruz stood courtside, gleefully grinning during pregame on the night the Houston Rockets were bounced from the 2018 NBA playoffs in a devastating Game 7 Western Conference finals home loss to the Golden State Warriors, a marquee matchup the Texas Republican was able to watch for free thanks to a powerful Republican donor.

Cruz attended the May 28, 2018, game with a ticket gifted to him by Robert Marling, the CEO of Woodforest National Bank and a financial supporter who contributed to his Senate and presidential campaigns.

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial pushed to 2020
California Republican accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds will go to court just weeks before primary

The trial of California Rep. Duncan Hunter is now scheduled to begin Jan. 14, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial on charges that he improperly spent hundreds of thousands in campaign funds on lavish vacations, golf outings and copious amounts of alcohol has been moved to Jan. 14.

The California Republican’s trial was originally scheduled to start Sept. 10.

Duncan Hunter’s trial appears on track to be postponed
California Republican faces avalanche of charges relating to alleged misuse of campaign cash

Rep. Duncan Hunter is seeking a delay in the start of his trial on campaign corruption charges. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawyers involved in Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial on charges that he inappropriately spent $250,000 in campaign funds for massive bar tabs and elaborate vacations to Hawaii and Italy are asking a California judge to have the proceedings delayed until Oct. 29.

A joint status report filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California seeks to move the trial, currently scheduled to begin Sept.10, to October. But the date proposed by lawyers for both the California Republican and the government could change based on court schedules and the status of appeals. More will be known after a district court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Seven Republicans call for Ethics Committee investigation into Castro
Texas Democrat posted names and employers of Trump donors on Twitter

Seven Republicans wrote to the House Ethics Committee on Friday, calling for an investigation into Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro for publicizing the names of constituents who donated to President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus are calling on the House Ethics Committee to investigate Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro for publicly posting on Twitter the names and workplaces of constituents who donated to President Donald Trump.

“Posting a target list of private citizens simply for supporting his political opponent is antithetical to our principles and serves to suppress the free speech and free association rights of Americans,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to the Ethics panel Friday.

After shootings, Trump again shows he prefers political brawler to consoler in chief
White House has ‘a problem’ with alleged ‘disingenuous’ comments by Sherrod Brown, Dayton mayor

President Donald Trump on Wednesday injected politics into his attempts to console those affected by mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Even on a day when he was thrust once again by gunmen into his consoler-in-chief role, President Donald Trump found new political enemies — and started throwing rhetorical elbows as the country reeled from two more gun massacres.

The president and first lady Melania Trump spent time Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, with the victims of weekend mass killings and law enforcement officers who neutralized the shooters. But before, during and after even his critics gave him points for consoling and spending time with those affected, the president appeared more focused on political sparring than emotional healing.