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U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls target of investigation by House ethics committee

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Richmond, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, the bipartisan panel announced Tuesday. It did not specify the focus of the investigation, but Nehls said it was related to his campaign's finances.

The committee announced it was digging into a matter reported to its members on Dec. 11 and it will announce how it will proceed by May 10. Investigations do not indicate that there have been any proven violations of ethics rules.

Nehls said in a statement Tuesday that he would cooperate with the committee.

"My campaign has complied with every Federal Election Commission (FEC) law, and my books are open,” he said.

The committee is made up of five Democrats and five Republicans, with U.S. Rep. Michael Guest, R-Mississippi, serving as the chair. U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, is the only Texan on the committee. Guest and ranking member Susan Wild, D-Pennsylvania, jointly agreed to pursue the investigation.

Nehls is known for his colorful personality on Capitol Hill, which has often led to controversy. A die-hard fan of President Donald Trump, Nehls doesn’t shy from loudly blasting Democrats or breaking decorum to prove a point. He wore a T-shirt with Trump’s face to the State of the Union and pushed Trump for House speaker after Kevin McCarthy was removed from the job. He wrote a book in 2022 claiming the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.

It has also led to comments other members found offensive. Nehls called the husband of U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Missouri, a “thug” earlier this year. Bush and her husband are Black and denounced the comment as racist. The remark drew condemnation from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the Congressional Black Caucus. Nehls did not apologize for the remark.

Nehls’ campaign reported losing over $150,000 last year in wire fraud last year, prompting an investigation by the Federal Election Commission. The campaign was able to recover over $130,000 of the stolen funds, which were reportedly sent to a mysterious entity, “Misty J Productions.”

Before Congress, Nehls was fired in 1998 as an officer with the Richmond Police Department after several violations to department policy, including mishandling evidence and disobeying orders.

The House Ethics Committee investigates violations to House Rules by members and staff. It sends its investigations to the full House to take disciplinary action if members find there was a violation and can also refer cases to the Justice Department if there is evidence of a crime.

The House Ethics Committee last year referred former U.S. Rep. George Santos, R-New York, to the Justice Department to investigate alleged campaign finance violations. The committee laid out its findings in a report to the full House, which voted to expel Santos in December.

The committee also opened an investigation into U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Amarillo, in April 2022 after the Office of Congressional Ethics reported that Jackson had improperly used campaign donations to pay for memberships to a social club in Amarillo. The committee made the report public that May but did not publish any findings to its own probe.

But some investigations ended more innocuously. U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Sherman, was also under investigation in 2022 for failing to submit financial reports on time. The committee voted unanimously to close the investigation after it found no evidence Fallon intentionally missed the deadline.


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