Congress Expands Investigation Into Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Details Are Unclear

by Gee NY
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick

The U.S. House Ethics Committee announced on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, that it is broadening its investigation into U.S. Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, who serves parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The exact focus of the committee’s inquiry remains unclear, but it could potentially involve a range of issues related to official business or her reelection campaign.

The announcement came in a joint statement from U.S. Rep. Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi and the committee chair, and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania and the committee’s ranking member.

The brief statement, which followed the committee’s standard format, indicated that an investigative subcommittee would examine whether Cherfilus-McCormick violated the Code of Official Conduct or any relevant laws, rules, or regulations.

Specifically, the subcommittee will look into allegations that she engaged in improper conduct concerning community project funding requests, misused official funds for campaign purposes, and/or violated campaign finance laws and regulations in her 2024 reelection campaign.

Despite the ongoing investigation, Cherfilus-McCormick has already secured another term ahead of the 2024 election.

Luther Campbell, a rap musician and civic activist, considered challenging her in the Democratic primary but decided against it just before the qualifying deadline. With no primary or general election challengers, Cherfilus-McCormick is the only one of Florida’s 28 members of Congress to be returned to office without facing an election.

Clara Benice, Cherfilus-McCormick’s communications director, said in an email that expanding the inquiry does not imply any wrongdoing.

“The Congresswoman continues to take this matter very seriously and intends to cooperate with the House Ethics Committee and its investigative subcommittee to address the allegations that have been raised,” Benice stated. “To respect the Ethics Committee’s process, we will have no further comment at this time.”

In December, the Ethics Committee had already established an Investigative Subcommittee to look into whether Cherfilus-McCormick may have violated campaign finance laws during her 2022 special election and reelection campaigns, failed to disclose required information in her House filings, or accepted voluntary services for official work from someone not employed in her congressional office.

Tuesday’s announcement and the one in December were based on referrals from the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The committee underscored that “the mere fact of an investigation into these allegations does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

Elected in January 2022 to complete the term of the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, Cherfilus-McCormick was subsequently reelected to a full term in November 2022.

The House Ethics Committee has stated that no additional information will be released regarding the referral or the ongoing investigation.

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