The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Jean Schmidt’s receipt of legal assistance from a Turkish-American interest group that has represented her in a host of proceedings in Ohio, one of the Republican’s counsels confirmed Friday.
Schmidt attorney Bruce Fein declined to answer questions about how he is paid, saying he is responding to a request from the OCE, the board that reviews potential rules violations and recommends investigations to the House Ethics Committee.
“We’ll be making proper responses to an outstanding inquiry,” said Fein, an attorney with the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund and a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America.
Fein did not detail the inquiry, and the OCE does not comment publicly on its work or confirm whether it is reviewing specific matters.
But Democrat David Krikorian, who has twice sought to challenge Schmidt for the 2nd district seat, has filed multiple complaints to the OCE, alleging that the Ohio lawmaker improperly received free legal services from the TCA and its legal defense fund in violation of House rules. It is not known whether the OCE investigation stems from Krikorian’s complaints.
In a statement Monday, Schmidt spokesman Brian Pfaff acknowledged the Ohio lawmaker had not received a bill from TALDF for its work to date but said Schmidt had followed House rules.
By Nicole Belle — February 16, 2011