Washington Bureau

07.26.13

John Boehner Stands By His Man

Michele Bachmann isn’t the most important Republican being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. Ben Jacobs reports.

John Boehner isn’t dropping a key member of his leadership team.

The headlines on Friday were that erstwhile presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was facing a possible investigation by the House Ethics Committee but she wasn’t the only member of Congress named. The committee announced that Peter Roskam (R-IL) is under the microscope well as Tim Bishop (D-NY) and John Tierney (D-MA).  But while Bishop and Tierney are both backbenchers, Roskam is the Chief Deputy Whip of the House of Representatives, a key position in the House leadership. When asked if Speaker Boehner was comfortable with Congressman Roskam continuing as Chief Deputy Whip while under investigation, Boehner’s spokeman, Michael Steel replied “of course.”

Roskam is accused of taking a trip to Taiwan in October, 2011 with his wife, which was improperly paid for the Taiwanese government. But while the House Ethics Committee approved the trip in advance, it has come under scrutiny from the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog set up in 2008 to review possible ethics violations.

In a statement issued by his communications director Stephanie Kittridge, Roskam maintained he had done nothing wrong. “The record reflects that Rep. Roskam fully complied with all laws, rules, and procedures related to privately sponsored travel.  The trip was vetted and approved by the House Ethics Committee, the body legally authorized to make determinations on Congressional conduct.”

The House Ethics Committee said it will make another announcement about any further steps in the investigations of Roskam and of the other three congressmen on or by September 11, 2013.