Washington (CNN) – The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it will launch an investigation of Rep. Laura Richardson, D-California, over alleged misuse of House resources for political purposes.
The committee released a statement saying it will create an “investigative subcommittee” to “determine whether Representative Laura Richardson violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation…with respect to the alleged use of official House resources and personnel for work related to campaign activities and other non-official purposes.”
Richardson said in a statement she looks forward to “a full, fair and expeditious inquiry.”
“I also intend to explore the issue of whether the Ethics Committee has engaged in discriminatory conduct in pursuing two investigations against me while simultaneously failing to apply the same standards to or take the same actions against other members-of whom the overwhelming majority are white males,” Richardson added.
The three-term California congresswoman pointedly called out some of her fellow colleagues who use their offices as sleeping quarters.
“The Committee has chosen to unjustly target its investigations concerning use of official House resources for political purposes on certain members, while overlooking the well-publicized misuse of official House resources for personal purposes by numerous other members of Congress,” Richardson said. “Specifically, numerous members have used their House offices for personal lodging, in some cases for years, saving tens of thousands of dollars personally at taxpayers’ expense. Under House rules, personal use of House resources is as impermissible as political use.”
Asked about Richardson’s allegations of racial bias by the committee, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, distanced himself from the issue.
“I’m not ready to declare that that there is a widespread conspiracy aimed at doing political damage to black members of Congress,” Cleaver said. “I think when you make statements like that you ought to have evidence.”
Richardson’s seat will likely be redistricted next year and she may face competition from fellow Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn.
Richardson was previously investigated and cleared of any wrongdoing in a 2010 investigation regarding a home loan from Washington Mutual Bank.
– CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.
– Follow Xuan Thai on twitter at @thaicnn.
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