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House ethics panel launches investigation of Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick

A House Ethics panel announced Wednesday that it will investigate whether Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.) violated campaign finance laws and failed to file required disclosure forms last year as she ran in a special election for her seat and sought reelection months later.

A statement from the top Republican and Democrat on the House Ethics Committee said that the panel had voted unanimously to create an investigative subcommittee to examine allegations that the congresswoman “may have violated campaign finance laws and regulations in connection with her 2022 special election and/or 2022 reelection campaigns; failed to properly disclose required information on statements required to be filed with the House; and/or accepted voluntary services for official work from an individual not employed in her congressional office.”

The statement provided no specifics on the allegations.

Cherfilus-McCormick’s press secretary, Jonathan Levin, emphasized in a statement that “the mere fact of establishing an investigative subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation occurred.”

“Regardless, the Congresswoman takes these matters seriously and is working to resolve them,” he said.

Cherfilus-McCormick was elected to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District, one of the most Democratic-leaning districts in the state, in early 2022 as part of a special election to replace the late Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.). She was reelected later that year.

Cherfilus-McCormick has faced scrutiny over how she financed her campaigns.

In 2022, the Sun Sentinel highlighted that she began self-funding her congressional campaign in 2021 just as the health-care company where she was chief executive started receiving roughly $8 million in contracts for providing coronavirus vaccines to underserved communities.

Cherfilus-McCormick loaned her campaign millions and also reported a major jump in her income — going from reporting $86,000 in 2020 to $6.4 million in 2021, according to the Sun Sentinel. Cherfilus-McCormick’s largest source of income in 2021 — $5.7 million — came from an LLC connected to her work as a health-care CEO.

The subcommittee investigating the issue is composed of four members: Reps. Andrew R. Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) and Troy A. Carter (D-La.).

This post appeared first on The Washington Post