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Just because the committee has voted to extend the review of the matter, “does not itself indicate that a violation has occurred,” the panel’s chairman and ranking members, Reps. Jo Bonner, Alabama Republican, and Linda Sanchez, California Democrat, said in a statement.

The committee did not give itself a deadline to come up with a decision in the case.

The House ethics committee is acting on recommendations made by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body tasked with looking into allegations against members and furthering their findings on to the full ethics panel for further review.

After interviewing Ms. Packer, identified as “Witness 1” in its report, as well as Mr. Hastings, the OCE found “probable cause” for the allegations and recommended that the ethics committee look into the manner.

Because several witnesses would not cooperate with its investigation, the OCE recommended that the ethics panel subpoena them, a power the office lacks.

The ethics committee also released a report of the OCE’s findings. In it, Ms. Packer details what she says are multiple accounts of Mr. Hastings behaving improperly, and Mr. Hastings disputes most of the accusations while corroborating some more innocuous details.


Romney raised $24M in 4th quarter of ‘11

MANCHESTER — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney raised $24 million during the last three months of 2011.

Mr. Romney’s campaign announced the year’s final fundraising numbers on Wednesday, a day after he won the New Hampshire primary. It’s his best fundraising quarter of the primary campaign so far. The former Massachusetts governor has $19 million to use in upcoming primaries as he looks to become the GOP nominee.

The total means that Mr. Romney raised $56 million in 2011. He announced his candidacy in June. Mr. Romney, a multimillionaire, didn’t make any personal contributions to the campaign. In 2008, he contributed more than $45 million of his own money. The announcement underscores Mr. Romney’s huge financial advantage over the conservative rivals scrambling to beat him in South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary.

Mr. Romney, like many Republicans, has mocked President Obama’s use of a teleprompter, suggesting it speaks to an overall ineptitude of the commander-in-chief.

But there he was at his victory speech Tuesday — possibly one of the biggest speeches of his life — reading from a pair of teleprompters.

The two clear screens were hard to miss in front of the stage. They stood tall, well above the heads of the crowd that gathered on the floor of the Southern New Hampshire University dining hall to listen to the former governor’s speech, which ended up being very well-received.

Mr. Romney has dinged the president for using a teleprompter in the past. In 2008, he told talk-show host Glenn Beck that Mr. Obama “speaks well” and “reads the teleprompter well.”

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