US Representative Joe Wilson’s campaign is defending the congressman, calling accusations that he violated House ethics rules “ridiculous.” Wilson’s office released a statement Tuesday condemning a House Ethics Committee investigation into his and five others’ travel expenses, saying it was a waste of taxpayer money.
The investigation began after a Wall Street Journal article in March revealed that Wilson and other House members used their daily travel stipend for expenses that weren’t allowed by ethics rules. Wilson was quoted as saying he had once bought marble goblets in Afghanistan for veterans in his district with the travel money. He later said they cost $1.60 each.
Lawmakers receive a $25 per day diem when they travel to Afghanistan. The money is supposed to be used only for meal and travel expenses. However, until rule changes enacted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in May, lawmakers weren’t required to return extra money or to even turn in receipts.
In the email, campaign manager Dustin Olsen criticized Democrats, saying they “have their priorities all wrong.”
Congressman Wilson was once asked by a reporter whether he ever purchased anything on a Congressional trip. He mentioned buying some “marble goblets” for troops and their family members. The items cost $1.60 each. The article that resulted from Joe’s comment gave his political opponents in Washington the excuse to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to go after him for buying tokens of his appreciation that cost a total of around $10.
Wilson’s political opponent in the upcoming election, Democrat Rob Miller, said Wilson has had several lapses in ethics.
I think this is another reason that shows Joe Wilson represents everything that’s wrong in Washington. Cleaning up ethics is one of my highest priorities.
Besides Wilson, the Journal says Reps. Alcee Harding (D-Fla), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Solomon Ortiz (D-Tex.), and former Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) were also under investigation. Harding, Butterfield, and Aderholt were also mentioned in the original March article.