The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics  just released findings (with extensive evidentiary supporting documents) that there is “substantial reason to believe” Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY21) violated federal law and House Rules in connection with a trip to Taiwan (emphasis added):

NATURE OF THE ALLEGED VIOLATIONS: Representative Bill Owens may have accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan from an impermissible source, resulting in an impermissible gift, in violation of federal law and House Rules. Representative Owens may have accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan, when that trip was in some part planned, organized, requested, or arranged by agents of a foreign principal, in violation of House Rules.

RECOMMENDATIONS: The OCE Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the first allegation as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Owens accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan from an impermissible source, resulting in an impermissible gift, in violation of federal law and House Rules.

The OCE Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics further review the second allegation as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Owens accepted payment of travel expenses for an officially connected trip to Taiwan, when that trip was in some part planned, organized, requested, or arranged by agents of a foreign principal, in violation of House Rules.

Owens’ response is here.  The Committee on Ethics’ press release is here, indicating the matter will continue to be reviewed.

You may recall that in a 2009 special election, Owens defeated conservative/Tea Party candidate Doug Hoffman after Republican Dede Scozzafava quit the race and endorsed Owens.

[Note:  The title was changed from "foreign donations" to "foreign gifts" to more closely track the language of the report.]

 
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