According to documents obtained by CQ Roll Call, congressional investigators are looking into the misuse of taxpayer money by Alex Mooney and determining whether he tampered with previous campaign inquiries.
In Mooney’s first investigation the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) found that Mooney had used campaign funds for family vacations and fast food, and failed to properly report over $40,000 in spending.
The OCE opened a second inquiry into Mooney, OCE Staff Director Omar Ashmawy saying in the letters that any information related to potential misuse of congressional or campaign funds or resources by Rep. Mooney or his campaign,” including “misuse of congressional staff time for personal errands, campaign work, or other unofficial purposes”, reported rollcall.
The OCE is not authorized to discipline members or issue subpoenas instead the ethics process requires the OCE to send its findings to the Ethics Committee, a 10-member panel of lawmakers with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.
Investigators asked for Mooney’s mileage reimbursements and the scheduling of his trips “in which he was accompanied by members of his family, or for which campaign or political work was not the primary purpose.”
Investigators also requested “all documents and communications related to the withholding, editing, or tampering with any documents or information by Rep. Mooney, his counsel, or his staff during an investigation by the OCE” reported rollcall.
According to rollcall, staffers on the campaign and in Mooney’s official office were asked to complete personal tasks. For example, Grace Mooney asked an official staffer to contact an agency in West Virginia to inquire how she could get her medical license in the state.
On a separate occasion, an official employee was asked to reach out to a mining museum in West Virginia to assist with a school project for one of the Mooney children.
Campaign employees drove Mooney’s children places for nonpolitical assignments and running errands saying, “and this was common practice for years for every campaign worker he has. They become personal chauffeurs,” a source told rollcall.
“Rep. Mooney sees no difference between official, campaign, and personal tasks, and routinely requires staff to perform all three regularly,” another source told rollcall.
Employees in Mooney’s campaign get paid out of the Members’ Representational Allowance which is taxpayer money but having them perform personal errands and using campaign resources for personal pursuits is prohibited by federal law.
Records show Mooney’s campaign fund has spent $167,939 on legal services to two law firms, Wiley Rein and Fox Rothschild, and Federal Election Commission. For costs associated with the investigations, Mooney has opened a legal expense fund to help pay.
On May 10 Mooney faces a primary matchup with Rep. David B. McKinley in the redrawn 2nd District.