Meadows in hot water with Congressional Ethics panel

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The hush-money payoff that wouldn't go away:

A congressional ethics panel said there is “substantial reason to believe” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), broke House rules by paying his departed chief of staff a three-month severance package in 2015. Meadows has denied any wrongdoing, arguing through a lawyer that he acted in good faith, even if it turns out he broke the rules.

The OCE pointed out in its report that Meadows had not cooperated with their investigation. In May 2016 letter to House Ethics Committee leaders, Meadows’s attorney said he had opted not to engage in the “duplicative, costly and burdensome process” of the OCE review since the Ethics Committee “is the ultimate arbiter of compliance with House Rules and Standards of Conduct.”

Methinks Tea Party Mark doesn't understand the meaning of "good faith." It doesn't just mean you thought you were doing right, it also means you are willing to cooperate with investigators and disclose to them anything that might be relevant. The next logical step for the House Ethics Committee is to subpoena (if they have that authority) Kenny West, to find out a) what work he actually accomplished during that extended period, and b) what juicy information he was holding over Meadows' head (blackmail) that would force the Congressman to break rules over:

The allegations against Meadows stem from an unsavory situation in his congressional office. Meadows, a two-term congressman who once led a bid to oust then-Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), appointed his former GOP rival Kenneth West to his chief-of-staff job when he came to Congress in 2013. In late 2014, allegations began surfacing from female staffers in Meadows’s office that West’s behavior was making them uncomfortable. According to the OCE report, Meadows said he would take care of it — and swiftly did, making sure that West was no longer present around the office.

According to witnesses cited in the report, over the next few months, West’s work for Meadows significantly diminished. But it wasn’t clear whether Meadows had truly terminated West’s employment until April 2015, when he told his staff that West “was no longer Chief of Staff,” according to the report — suggesting he was no longer in Meadows’s employ. That month, Meadows referred to West as “gone” in an email to a staffer, the report found, and emailed around an official announcement saying he was looking for a new chief of staff.

In a November 2015 letter to the OCE, Meadows explained that he officially terminated West’s employment in May, offering to pay him as an adviser “for the sake of a smooth transition, and so he would continue to perform some official duties for me,” through August 2015. He called the arrangement “severance” pay, according to the OCE’s report.

For those who haven't been keeping up: West ran against Meadows in the GOP Primary, and towards the end of the race, he began hinting that he knew something about Meadows that would destroy his chances in the General Election. Almost immediately following the Primary, West found himself on Meadows' payroll. First the campaign, and later as a taxpayer-funded staffer. A staffer who apparently felt comfortable enough with his job security to start sexually-harassing female employees. The evidence (so far) is circumstantial, but it also follows a trail of logic to a pretty solid conclusion.

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