House Ethics Committee looking at Rep. Bobby Rush

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WASHINGTON–The House Ethics Committee announcedon Friday it is looking at Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and while the panel did not disclose details, in April Rush told me the Office of Congressional Ethics hada pending inquiry against him, triggered most likely by Chicago Sun-Times/Better Government Association stories raising questions about spending from his campaign fund and the handling of a $1 million grant, among other issues.

The OCE sent information about its probe of Rush to the House Ethics panel on June 10. The said in a statement it will “announce its course of action” on or before Nov. 10.

“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral ….does not itself indicate that any violation has occured, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

“I’ve been cooperative,” Rush told me in April. He said he wants the OCE to “affirm” that he has not violated any rules. “I have been just totally, totally cooperative, open andcooperative and I encouraged anybody they wanted to talk to” to be “honest and frank about it.”

The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent, non-partisan organization “charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members, officers, and staff of the United States House of Representatives and, when appropriate, referring matters to the House Committee on Ethics.”

In December, a Chicago Sun-Times/Better Government Association probe of Rush by Chuck Neubauer and Sandy Bergo reported that Rush had little to show for a $1 million grant Rush secured from SBC (later rebranded as AT&T) for a nonprofit he founded in Englewood.

Neubauer and Bergo also reported that Rush, who is a minister, used money from his campaign fund for his Beloved Community Christian Church and has not reported paying rent for his campaign office, a potential violation of House ethics rules.

So far, Rush has paid $14,566 from his campaign fund for his legal defense, according to disbursement records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Neither Rush’s spokesman, Debra Johnson, nor his lawyers so far had any comment.

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