IF YOUR TIME IS SHORT
Alex Constantine - November 22, 2022
- In 2022 and 2020, Arizona Rep. David Schweikert was fined $175,000 by the Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee for multiple campaign finance violations.
- Investigators said he failed to report loans, allowed funds to be used for noncampaign purposes and slow-walked handing over documents to play out the statute of limitations for the worst offenses.
- Schweikert acknowledged the violations, but said he didn’t knowingly break the law.
Arizona Democratic congressional candidate Jevin D. Hodges said incumbent Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., “can’t be trusted.”
Hodges tweeted Sept. 30, “He’s been convicted of 11 House ethics violations.”
In 2020, the House Ethics Committee fined Rep. David Schweikert $50,000 for campaign finance violations that, by extension, broke House ethics rules. In 2022, the Federal Election Commission fined him $125,000 on the same basis.
Schweikert’s campaign money violations
In 2017, anonymous accusers said Schweikert’s chief of staff, Oliver Schwab, had used campaign funds for personal matters such as paying for vacations and reimbursements for office supplies.
The House Committee on Ethics began preliminary investigations into Schwab and Schweikert, which led to a full-blown effort in June 2018 to investigate the two men. The subcommittee focused on Schweikert’s 2010 to 2018 campaigns and Schwab’s involvement in them.
Investigators found Schweikert had committed 11 campaign finance violations, including reporting a $100,000 loan that didn’t exist. The campaign also failed to disclose a $75,000 loan from Metro Phoenix Bank. There were about $78,000 in disbursements for unclear purposes and Schwab had spent more than $270,000 of his own money on Schweikert’s behalf and was reimbursed by the campaign. The campaign reimbursed staff members at least $1,500 for personal expenses that included food and babysitting services.
The investigation found that Schweikert was slow to produce documents and gave investigators misleading statements “that allowed him to evade the statute of limitations for the most egregious violations of campaign finance laws.”
They accused him of giving “self-serving testimony that lacked candor” and fined him $50,000.
After the House finished its work, the Federal Election Commission began an 18-month long investigation. When it was completed, the Federal Election Commission and Schweikert agreed to a $125,000 fine.
Conciliation agreement is the same as guilty conviction
In the agreement with the Federal Election Commission, Schweikert did not admit to the “knowing and willful aspect of the violations.” Donald Sherman, chief counsel at the nonprofit ethics group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C., said that makes little difference.
“If you take a plea in court, it still counts as a conviction,” Sherman said. “At bottom, the agreement that Mr. Schweikert agreed to was to pay a sizable fine for significant violations of campaign finance law.”
We reached out to Schweikert’s office and did not hear back.
Hodges said that Schweikert had “been convicted of 11 House ethics violations.”
The House Ethics Committee found Schweikert committed 11 campaign finance violations which, by definition, violated House ethics rules. He received a reprimand and paid $175,000 in fines.
We rate this claim True.