Federal Politics

Published — August 12, 2016 Updated — Today at 2:25 pm EST

Congressman-car dealer refuses to cooperate with investigators

House Ethics Committee to extend investigation into alleged conflict of interest

Introduction

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams’ financial interest in his auto dealership may have “influenced his performance of official duties,” and the House Ethics Committee will extend its investigation into the Texas congressman’s conduct.

The determination was made by the Office of Congressional Ethics, which advises the House Ethics Committee, in a report issued Thursday. Investigators noted the Republican congressman did not cooperate with the probe and recommended the House Ethics Committee issue subpoenas to Williams and his dealership to obtain information on its rental practices.

It was a serious setback for the representative, who in a 12-page statement says he has done nothing improper.

The Center for Public Integrity was first to report accusations against the congressman in a report last November. The story drew a request for a review by the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C. legal watchdog.

Williams offered an amendment to a transportation bill that safety advocates say would have benefited his business. Prior to passage of the legislation, it was legal for businesses to rent vehicles that were the subject to safety recalls. The law stopped the practice, but Williams’ amendment, which failed, would have exempted car dealerships that issue loaners and rent cars to customers.

In his response, Williams stated that his dealership “makes no profit from facilitating rental vehicles or in offering loaner vehicles for its customers” and that he offered the amendment “without any improper motivations, and without any desire or possible effect of personal gain.”

The House Code of Conduct generally prohibits a member from taking an official action that may benefit his or her financial interest. Officially, a member cannot receive compensation where “the receipt of which would occur by virtue of influence improperly exerted from the position of such individual in Congress.”

From here, the House Ethics Committee may convene an investigative subcommittee.

The rental car provision in the legislation, which was also in the Senate version, was spurred by the deaths of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, ages 24 and 20. The two sisters were killed in 2004 while driving a rented, recalled vehicle that caught fire and crashed head-on into a semi, according to consumer groups that have backed the rental car proposal.

Williams’ amendment would have made the act apply only to companies whose “primary” business is renting cars, which would effectively exclude dealerships. No such provision existed in the Senate bill.

Williams is chairman of Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM SRT in Weatherford. In his remarks on the House floor, Williams said the bill was bad for small businesses.

Though Williams’ amendment did not make it into law, a House-Senate conference committee decided that rather than exempting auto dealers from the requirement, it would exempt rental fleets with 35 or fewer cars. That provision was included in the larger transportation bill and signed into law in December.

Punishment for violating House rules can include a formal reprimand, censure or even expulsion. Each action would require a vote of the full House.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT