House Ethics Committee Investigates Democrat Congressman

( – Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and his wife, Imelda, already found themselves in hot water earlier in May after the Justice Department (DOJ) unsealed an indictment against the couple. Yet, the Democratic Congressman found he was standing on even shakier ground after the House Ethics Committee announced on Wednesday, May 29, that it was opening an investigation into bribery allegations against him.

Although Cuellar handily defeated his Republican opponent in his south Texas district in 2022, the DOJ’s legal charges and the Ethic Committee investigation may not bode well for his election chances in November against Jay Furman, a retired Navy officer running on the Republican ticket. Cuellar has declared his innocence.

The DOJ indictment detailed allegations that Cuellar and his wife accepted $598,000 in bribes from the government of Azerbaijan and a foreign bank. In exchange, prosecutors say the lawmaker promised to use his credentials and position to favorably influence US policies regarding the Middle Eastern nation and foreign banking policies.

Prosecutors claimed that Imelda Cuellar laundered the money through a series of consulting contracts to front companies that never actually performed “legitimate” work for the Azerbaijan government. Additionally, Cuellar promised to influence federal banking industry regulations to benefit a foreign bank that also contracted with his wife’s companies.

Cuellar and his wife are facing charges of two counts of conspiracy, two counts of bribery, two counts of honest services wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of acting as an agent for a foreign principal, money laundering conspiracy, and five counts of money laundering.

On Wednesday, the House Ethics Committee, bound by House rules, voted unanimously to form a new subcommittee to investigate Cuellar. Committee members acknowledged the complexities of running a parallel investigation while the DOJ case remains unresolved.

Cuellar went before the Ethics Committee in early May seeking its legal counsel ahead of the DOJ’s release of the indictment. He resigned as ranking chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee after the DOJ unsealed the indictment.

The Texan lawmaker also released a statement Wednesday saying he respected the committee’s work and restated his innocence. He added, “Everything I have done in Congress has been to serve the people of South Texas.”

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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