WASHINGTON — The Maryland Democratic Party on Tuesday called for the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Alex X. Mooney’s involvement in Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s re-election campaign violated U.S. House of Representatives ethics rules.
Mooney, a former state senator and current chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, submitted paperwork to the Federal Election Commission in March stating his intent to run for the House in 2014. This summer, he took a part-time position with Bartlett’s campaign.
When a Washington Post reporter earlier this month alerted Mooney to House ethics rules that state an individual can’t simultaneously serve as a congressional aide and a future candidate, Mooney informed the FEC that he was no longer a candidate in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District.
On Tuesday, Mooney repeated his earlier statements that the issue was a clerical mistake.
“It was a paperwork error that’s been fixed. It’s not an issue,” Mooney said.
Isaac Salazar, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party, said Mooney’s decision to resolve the issue doesn’t make up for the months during which he was in violation of ethics rules.
“He can’t retroactively undo the ethics violations,” Salazar said. “If he hadn’t corrected it, he would have continued to be in violation.”
Ted Dacey, Bartlett’s campaign manager, called the request for an ethics investigation “partisan grandstanding.”
“John Delaney and his allies are desperate to change the subject away from his unethical business practices,” Dacey said.
Salazar said the request for an investigation was not meant to discredit Bartlett, who is locked in a contested race with businessman John Delaney.
“I would say that the congressman and Alex Mooney have done enough to discredit themselves,” Salazar said. “Dismissing it as a clerical error is their attempt to kind of sweep it under the rug.”
If the Office of Congressional Ethics launches an investigation into the matter, it will not be announced before Election Day. The office spends roughly 90 days on its own investigation before deciding whether to recommend a case to the House Committee on Ethics. The committee can then launch an independent investigation before making the case public. In other words, an announcement may not come until early 2013.