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Ethics committees closes investigation on Roskam's Taiwan trip controversy

Published: Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 3:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 12:27 a.m. CDT
Peter Roskam

The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously Oct. 30 to close the months-long investigation into a more than $25,000 trip U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, took in October 2011 to Taiwan, citing "insufficient evidence," according to a news release from the House Ethics Committee.

Roskam and his wife, Elizabeth, took the trip as part of the representative's work on the Ways and Means Committee. Allegations later arose that the trip was paid for by the Taiwanese government and not the Chinese Cultural University, which Roskam said was the sponsor.

According to House Travel Guidelines and Regulations, "expenses may only be accepted from an entity or entities that have a significant role in organizing and conducting a trip.” The Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent organization that reviews allegations of misconduct in the House, claimed that the Taiwanese government was the organizer of the trip.

Usually, a foreign government covering such travel costs is not an ethical breach. But ethics rules forbid governments pay for the travel of spouses or family members.

The only direct contact Roskam's office had with the university before, during or after the eight day trip was a written invitation and a three-hour visit to the college that included a campus tour and a meeting with the university's president, according to a report from the office.

"The House Ethics Committee's unanimous, bipartisan vote to close this case without finding any wrongdoing confirms what Rep. Roskam has said all along – that he and his staff have complied with all laws, rules and procedures related to privately sponsored travel," said Roskam's communication director, Stephanie Kittredge, in a statement.

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