Rep. Peter Roskam under ethics investigation
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is under investigation for a possible breach in ethics, according to a July 26 news release from the House Ethics Committee.
Roskam, who is the chief Republican deputy whip, is one of four U.S. representatives under investigation.
The investigation was launched after recommendations from the Office of Congressional Ethics were sent to the house committee.
The committee has already reviewed the recommendations for 45 days and has another 45 days to decide whether to conduct full investigations of any of the four representatives.
The committee does not comment on pending investigations, according to a committee spokesperson.
Roskam's office has released details of the findings of the Office of Congressional Ethics and has said that "Rep. Roskam fully complied with all laws, rules and procedures."
The Office of Congressional Ethics investigated a fact-finding trip for the Ways and Means Committee that the congressman and his wife took in October 2011 to Taiwan, said Roskam's communications director, Stephanie Kittredge. During the trip, Roskam met with government officials and industry leaders for congressional work, Kittredge said.
According to Kittredge, the office is alleging that the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, a government agency, sponsored the trip. However, Kittredge said that the actual sponsor was the Chinese Cultural University, a private education facility.
Kittredge said that the ethics committee fully vetted the trip before it was taken and found no wrongdoing and that the allegations were "a clear misunderstanding of ethics rules."
"TECRO is basically the de facto embassy for Taiwan, so it made sense to work with them," she said.
The congressman fully cooperated with the original Office of Congressional Ethics investigation, Kittredge said, turning over documents, submitting himself and his staff to interviews and waiving his right of confidentiality, an "unprecedented" decision. She said that the congressman had no problem being open and releasing the information to the office and to the public because "we did nothing wrong."
"It was a legitimate trip for legitimate purposes," Kittredge said.