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Former Aide Accuses McMorris Rodgers of Ethics Breach

Former Aide Accuses McMorris Rodgers of Ethics Breach

By Adam O'Neal - September 9, 2014

A former staffer for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers accused the Republican Conference chairwoman of intimidation and retribution in a lengthy written statement made public Monday. 

“I can confirm for the first time that the Ethics Committee is investigating [McMorris Rodgers’] efforts to intimidate and punish me for my cooperation with the [Office of Congressional Ethics] and the committee,” said Todd Winer in an e-mail sent to reporters and published by Roll Call. 

He continued, “CMR’s actions include exposing the name of a cooperative witness in the media, slandering a cooperative witness in the media, and seeking reprisals against a cooperative witness with the goal of damaging their career.” 

The Office of Congressional Ethics received a complaint last year that McMorris Rodgers had blended political staff and resources with taxpayer-funded staff and resources in her bid for conference chairwoman. The five-term congresswoman from Washington state was apparently notified of the investigation in December.

“Just about everything that has been said about me by [McMorris Rodgers] -- through her lawyer and her Chief of Staff -- is a lie,” Winer alleged. 

“We are sorry to see more frivolous allegations and information from the same source,” said McMorris Rodgers’ attorney, Elliot Berke. “From the beginning the Congresswoman and her staff have fully cooperated with the Ethics Committee and will continue to do so should it have more questions.” 

Winer served as McMorris Rodgers’ communications director from 2009 to 2013. He then worked as Rep. Raul Labrador’s communications director, though he has left that position. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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