- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The House Ethics Committee said Tuesday it’s forming special subcommittees to investigate a bipartisan pair of veteran lawmakers accused of misusing money and other rule violations.

The two panels, targeting Reps. Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey Democrat, and Don Young, Alaska Republican, are the committee’s first of the new 113th Congress. The committee has been investigating Mr. Andrews since the last Congress, and Mr. Young for several years.

Mr. Andrews, who has served in the House since 1990, is accused of improperly using money from his principal campaign committee and leadership political action committee for personal purposes, using official resources for nonofficial and personal purposes, and making false statements to federal officials.

While the committee doesn’t reveal specifics of ongoing investigations, news articles have reported Mr. Andrews is accused of spending campaign money on a personal trip to Scotland in 2011, a party jointly celebrating his 20th year in Congress and his daughter’s high school graduation, and trips to California.

During the course of the committee’s investigation it said it received a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics regarding allegations the lawmaker’s use of funds.

Mr. Andrews has denied any wrongdoing and says he will cooperate with investigators.

“This continuing review by the House Ethics Committee will establish and confirm that I have always followed all the rules and met all the standards of the House,” the Democrat said in a statement. “In the meantime, I will continue to work as hard as I can to serve the interests of my constituents and our country.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, in December named Mr. Andrews a co-chairman of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Mrs. Pelosi was traveling back to the U.S. from Rome on Tuesday and unavailable for comment.

House investigators are looking into accusations that Mr. Young, or people acting on his behalf, improperly obtained, received or accepted gifts, improperly used official resources or campaign funds for personal purposes, failed to report certain gifts, and made false statements to federal officials.

The ethics panel said that, while in the course of its own investigation of Mr. Young, it received a referral from the Justice Department regarding the lawmaker’s expenses and travel costs.

Federal investigators for years targeted the Alaskan for possible corruption, though no criminal charges were filed. He has served as his state’s lone House member since 1973.

Young spokesman Mike Anderson said the congressman is “cooperating with the committee and will continue to do so.”

• Sean Lengell can be reached at slengell@washingtontimes.com.

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