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“What I want to make emphatically clear and what I want to emphasize — that I’ve never taken or never threatened any action against any staffer who did not volunteer to work on my campaign,” the California Democrat said.

Mr. Bonner, though, said staffers told the committee they felt pressure. He said investigators heard “desperate, sometimes emotional” pleas from the congresswoman’s staff to intervene.

The committee issued an official report that is damning in its conclusions, saying the congresswoman’s version of events was at odds with that told by her staffers, and ethics investigators clearly believed the staffers.

It’s not illegal for congressional staffers to volunteer to work for their boss’s political campaigns, but they are not supposed to do so on official time, and they cannot be pushed to do so.