Today’s news:

Congressional ethics body urges probe into Crowley fund-raising

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) is facing an investigation by the House Ethics Committee into his fund-raising activities after an independent congressional watchdog group recommended that he and two other congressmen should be questioned.

A spokeswoman for the Office of Congressional Ethics confirmed that the independent entity had recommended the probe of the Queens Democratic Party chairman Aug. 31 and asked the House Ethics Committee to follow up.

The New York Post reported the investigation involves money raised from Wall Street executives prior to the passage of the bill to reform the financial industry.

Crowley’s office denied any ethical lapses.

“Congressman Crowley has always complied with the letter and spirit of all rules regarding fund-raising and standards of conduct,” said a representative from Crowley’s office.

The Office of Congressional Ethics began a preliminary review in May of Crowley’s and seven other congressmen’s fund-raising activities, but recommended Crowley as well as U.S. Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.) for further review by the House Ethics Committee. Campbell and Price denied any wrongdoing, according to The Hill congressional newspaper in Washington, while the other five congressmen avoided any recommendation for an additional look into their activities.

The review allegedly centers on funds raised from Wall Street executives prior to the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which streamlined the financial regulation system, created the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and developed a process to prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts of corporations´╗┐, the Post reported.

Crowley voted for the House version of the bill, although Campbell and Price did not. All congressmen up for investigation were either part of the House Financial Services Committee or the House Ways and Means Committee. Crowley is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, while Campbell and Price are members of the Financial Services Committee.

Crowley is also vice chairman for Finance of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a friend of U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D–Astoria), the former head of the Ways and Means Committee, who faces accusations of multiple ethics violations.

The Post reported Crowley raised $23,500 before voting on the bill, and Price raised $23,000 at a “financial services lunch” before the vote.

Price also said in a statement that he had not done anything wrong and spoke against the recommended investigation.

“How the OCE arrived at their recommendation is truly a mystery,” Price said. “There being no evidence of any wrongdoing or any inconsistency in my policy position, one can only guess as to the motive behind their decision or even why they chose to initiate a review in the first place.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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