The House Ethics Committee in Washington is extending its investigation into actions by 1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky. A federal ethics probe released Monday found there is "substantial reason to believe" that Whitfield and his staff had improper lobbying contacts with his wife. Whitfield's wife is a lobbyist for the national Humane Society and has pushed legislation before Congress.
The federal Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body, has provided its findings to the House Committee on Ethics, which is continuing to investigate and will make the final decision on whether to discipline Whitfield.
Craig Holman is a government affairs lobbyist for the non-partisan, non-profit organization Public Citizen.
He believes the panel will take the findings seriously.
“I consider this a very substantial, fact-finding report that the ethics committee cannot ignore,” said Holman.
Whitfield, a Republican from Hopkinsville, has previously denied the claims. He did not respond to requests for comment this week.
Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has endorsed James Comer for governor.
Comer, the Republican state agriculture commissioner, is seeking the party's nomination for governor in 2015. Former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner is also seeking the Republican nomination.
In a news release from the Comer campaign, Whitfield said he believes Comer's achievements as agriculture commissioner makes him the candidate with the best chance to take back the governor's office. Democrats have won nine of the last 10 governor's elections.
Whitfield has represented Kentucky's 1st Congressional District since 1994. The district includes the city of Tompkinsville, Comer's home.
Former Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and several state lawmakers also have endorsed Comer.
Attorney General Jack Conway is the only announced Democrat in the race. He has endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, former state Auditor Crit Luallen and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.
Kentucky’s First District Congressman is defending himself against allegations related to a House ethics investigation. While the committee looking into the matter doesn’t comment publicly about what it’s investigating, Hopkinsville Republican Ed Whitfield addressed the issue on a teleconference with reporters Monday.
Whitfield said the complaint alleges that his wife—who is lobbyist for the U.S. Humane Society Legislative Fund—improperly lobbied him on behalf of legislation he is sponsoring related to show horses. Whitfield’s bill would strengthen the Horse Protection Act and seek the elimination of a practice known as “soring”, where chains and pads are used to conceal irritants that result in horses achieving a high-stepping gait desired in some competitions.
Whitfield denied allegations in the ethics complaint that he only became interested in the issue after his wife began working with the Humane Society in 2011.
“I first started writing letters about the soring issue with Tennessee Walking Horses back in 2004. And I wrote a letter in 2010 before she was ever involved,” Whitfield told reporters.
Whitfield says the ethics complaint was brought by individuals in the performance horse industry who defend the practice of soring.
During his teleconference, the Hopkinsville Congressman also denied allegations in a recent report that he has maintained an improper business relationship with a nationally known lobbyist.
The report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting showed Whitfield and the lobbyist bought property in the West Virginia resort known as The Greenbrier. The reporter behind the investigation, R.G. Dunlop, joined the teleconference to ask Whitfield questions about the 2002 property purchase.
Kentucky Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield will be the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation. The committee announced the investigation today, but, per usual did not say what it would be looking into. Two recent investigative reports have examined Whitfield’s dealing with lobbyists through the years. One was reported by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the other was featured in Politico.
In a statement obtained by the Associated Press, Whitfield said the complaint pertains to his work on behalf of animals. Whitfield's wife is a lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
The Ethics Committee says the results of the inquiry will be released no later than Nov. 10.
For more than a decade, U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Kentucky, owned a $200,000-piece of West Virginia property with a lobbyist whose clients and employers had business before him in Congress, writes R.G. Dunlop, a reporter from WFPL'sKentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
In a speech to the nation Tuesday, President Obama will make his case for a U.S. military strike on Syria. Regardless of what the president says, some members of Kentucky’s federal delegation already have their minds made up.
Republican Congressman Thomas Massie says he will vote against any resolution authorizing military force against Syria for its government’s alleged use of chemical weapons. For one thing, Massie says he’s uncomfortable with the language in the president’s proposal.
"It's not limited geographically, it's not limited by type of engagement, and it's not limited by who we can engage, not just the Syrians," contends Massie.
Massie contends the civil war in Syria is not a matter of U.S. national security. Massie is joined by Congressman Ed Whitfield as solid “no” votes. U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers, and Andy Barr, all GOP members, are still contemplating.