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Thursday, December 11, 2014

 2:21 PM 

House Ethics Committee says it would be 'inequitable' to punish Petri, closes case

The House Ethics Committee today closed the case against retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Petri without any punishment, saying it would be "inequitable" to take action against him.

The Office of Congressional Ethics Board earlier this year found "substantial reason" to believe Petri violated House rules in taking actions benefiting companies in which he had a financial stake.

But the Ethics Committee rejected that view, finding his "staff proactively and repeatedly consulted with the Committee's staff on whether and how Representative Petri could lawfully and properly engage in official actions on behalf of entities in which he had a financial interest.

"Representative Petri repeatedly sought guidance on substantially all matters under review, and should have been entitled to rely on that guidance, particularly in a matter where the rules governing the conduct require a fact-specific analysis, as is the case with the rules governing conflicts of interest in the House," the committee wrote in its report.

Petri thanked the committee for acting before his term is up and that it rejected "the misconceptions and inaccurate allegations that were published this year.”

“The Ethics Committee confirms what I have said all along -- I regularly consulted with the Committee to ensure everything was done in accordance with House rules," Petri said. "I have always sought to represent my constituents in an honest and open way, and that is why I requested this review."

Petri asked the House Ethics Committee earlier this year to look into allegations he acted on behalf of Oshkosh Corp. while owning stock in the company. At the time, he said he had sought the committee's advice in his actions and did nothing improper.


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