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House Ethics Panel Probes GOP Rep. Troy Nehls For Alleged $25K Campaign Fund Misuse

 May 12, 2024

The House Ethics Committee is currently investigating allegations against Texas GOP Representative Troy Nehls regarding the misuse of $25,000 in campaign funds.

The committee is examining whether Rep. Nehls diverted these funds for personal use, initiating the probe on March 26 with ongoing investigations, as the New York Post reports.

On March 26, the House Ethics Committee, led by Michael Guest (R-MS) and Susan Wild (D-PA), extended their investigation into Nehls without providing a public update on its progress. This inquiry was sparked by a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) in December, which detailed the allegations against Nehls.

Non-Cooperation from Nehls Raises Concerns

Nehls, along with three congressional staff members and two campaign aides, refused to cooperate with the OCE. This non-cooperation has notably impacted the transparency and integrity of the investigation, as emphasized by the ethics office.

"The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) was created under Nancy Pelosi, which is why I refused to cooperate with the office," Nehls defended his actions. "My books remain open, and I am cooperating with the legitimate House Committee on Ethics," he added.

Financial Discrepancies and Campaign Practices Under Scrutiny

Nehls’ financial dealings have come under scrutiny, particularly regarding the operations at his campaign office address, known as "Freedom Hall," which did not incur rental payments and later became an Islamic center. Furthermore, from 2019 to 2022, Nehls' campaign paid $25,319 in rent to Liberty 1776, LLC, a company solely owned by Nehls and registered at his home address.

Significantly, the license for Liberty 1776 was terminated in 2022 due to franchise tax evasion, raising further questions about Nehls' financial practices.

Opaque Transactions and Amendments in Disclosures

Nehls also faced issues for failing to report his ownership of Liberty 1776 in his financial disclosures for the years 2021 and 2022, which he later amended. Additionally, Liberty 1776 made a payment of $159 for personal property taxes at the Freedom Hall location in 2022, linking personal expenses to campaign finances.

Nehls’ campaign further paid $12,652.62 to Patriot Media and Pogie USA, companies with no clear ownership links, adding layers to the ongoing investigation.

Nehls' Political Actions and Public Statements

Amidst these financial inquiries, Rep. Nehls has continued his political activities, notably nominating former President Donald Trump to lead the Republican conference during a significant political event in October. He also made a statement by wearing attire featuring Trump’s mugshot at President Biden’s State of the Union address in March.

The investigation's extension and Nehls’ actions have drawn attention to the broader implications of campaign finance practices within Congress.

Implications of Ethical Non-Compliance

The House Ethics Committee, through its chair Michael Guest and ranking member Susan Wild, emphasized, "The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee."

This statement underscores the ongoing nature of the investigation and the need for a thorough review to ensure accountability and transparency within congressional campaign practices.

As the investigation continues, the outcome will play a crucial role in defining the ethical boundaries for campaign financing in Congress, particularly as Nehls runs for a third term to represent Texas’ 22nd Congressional District. His previous role as sheriff of Fort Bend County from 2013 to 2021 adds to the complexity of his public and political profile during this probe.

Conclusion: A Pivotal Moment for Congressional Ethics

In conclusion, the House Ethics Committee's investigation into Rep. Troy Nehls highlights significant concerns over campaign finance integrity and the potential misuse of funds.

The probe’s extension and Nehls' non-cooperation emphasize the challenges in maintaining transparency and accountability.

As developments continue, the case against Nehls could significantly impact not only his political career but also the standards of ethical conduct expected in Congress.