Congressman Bobby Rush expressed hope today, that the House Ethics Committee “takes into account the cooperation I have shown,” in a continuing investigation which on Friday was extended for another 45 days.
The Ethics Committee says it will announce a course of action on or before Nov. 10. The Committee received a report on Rush from the Office of Congressional Ethics June 10.
“The Committee notes that there mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment of the Committee,” the Ethics group said in a news release.
While the Ethics Committee was not specific about why Rush is being investigated, questions were raised late last year about spending from his campaign fund, and the handling of a $1 million dollar grant.
Specifically, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association reported that Rush had little to show for the grant, secured from SBC Communications for a non-profit in Englewood. The stories also reported that Rush used campaign funds for his Beloved Community Christian Church.
“The notice today that the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee have decided to extend the time for reviewing the matter transmitted by the Office of Congressional Ethics, indicates they believe in the interest of fairness that more time is needed before making any substantive determination,” Rush said in a statement.
“I am hopeful that the Ethics Committee will approach this in a manner that takes into account the cooperation I have shown from the outset, and my willingness to adhere to any guidance that House Ethics has made, or will make, available to me.”
At the end of the 45 days, the Committee could take a variety of actions. They could choose to do nothing. They could refer the matter for further investigation by a specially empaneled investigative subcommittee. They could also refer the matter to the Justice Department.
In any event, it would not be until that 45 days has expired, that they would release the OCE report they received in June. Traditionally, those reports provide the most illumination about such inquiries.
Rush has represented the First Congressional District for 21 years.