The House Ethics Committee referred a member of Congress to the Justice Department over alleged violations of campaign finance laws.
Guam Delegate Michael F.Q. San Nicolas was investigated by the Ethics Committee by members of a subcommittee. The Investigative Subcommittee (ISC) said it found “substantial evidence” that San Nicolas violated a number of campaign finance crimes, according to an Ethics Committee statement.
The ISC investigation found evidence he accepted improper excessive campaign contributions, engaged in a conspiracy to hide the proceeds of those illegal contributions, knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission, and tried to influence a witness in connection with the ISC investigation.
“The Committee on Ethics has unanimously voted to adopt the ISC’s report and, with it, refer the substantial evidence of potential violations of federal criminal law to the Department of Justice for such further action as it deems appropriate,” said Democrat chairman Ted Deutch, Fla.
“The ISC considered recommending the Committee seek a House-level sanction of Delegate San Nicolas for violations of federal laws and regulations, as well as the Code of Official Conduct,” Congressman Deutch said in a committee report released after the investigation ended. “The ISC determined, however, that would not be the most effective action in light of the Delegate’s impending retirement from the House, as well as the potential expiration of applicable statutes of limitations as soon as next year for some of the conduct at issue.”
San Nicolas came under House investigation in October 2019 after allegations surfaced claiming he “converted campaign funds to personal use” and “accepted improper or excessive campaign contributions.” The ISC final report did not address other allegations that the Guam delegate had a sexual relationship with a congressional employee who worked under his supervision.
The Committee received substantial evidence San Nicolas may have unlawfully solicited and accepted cash contributions totaling at least $9,000 from a single donor during the 2018 election cycle, according to Deutch.
Also, substantial evidence showed the Guam delegate sought the improper donation in cash so his campaign could avoid disclosing the specific contributions, including by falsely reporting a portion of the illicit donation as proceeds of a small dollar fundraiser held on or around September 28, 2018, according to the committee’s final report. The report added his campaign failed to properly report the contributions for approximately two years.
“There is substantial evidence that Delegate San Nicolas dispatched one of his congressional staffers to ‘deliver a message’ to the donor of the $9,000 cash campaign donation that the contribution ‘never happened.’ the congressman said in his report.
The report noted the ISC investigated whether San Nicolas had a sexual relationship with a staffer in his congressional office and found evidence it found “concerning” but decided to pursue the charges they had the most solid evidence for.
This story originally appeared on Resist the Mainstream