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February 12, 2015

CREW Congratulates January’s Scoundrel of the Month: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)Washington, D.C. — It was probably only a matter of time before Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), one of the more colorful orators of our age, took his powers of persuasion to the rarefied halls of Oxford and Cambridge. A personal trip overseas, however, can’t come out of a lawmaker’s campaign account. After Rep. Gohmert improperly billed his high-end travel expenses in the British Islands to his campaign, CREW’s voters (to borrow the congressman's peculiar parlance) cast aspersions on his asparagus with the title of January’s Scoundrel of the Month.

Reports that Rep. Gohmert’s campaign committee filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show expenses related to a trip he took to England in November and December of 2014. These expenses included more than $5,000 to the five-star Andaluz Liverpool Street hotel, nearly $400 to the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford, and more than $200 for a taxi ride in Cambridgeshire. Rep. Gohmert’s trip to England included speaking events with groups like the Cambridge Union Society, the Rothermere American Institute, the Federalist and Henry Jackson Societies, and a joint group of the British House of Lord and House of Commons.

“Between Louie Gohmert’s London adventure and Aaron Schock’s ‘Downton Abbey’ office, there seem to be quite a few Anglophiles in the Republican conference. No one begrudges Rep. Gohmert a hop across the pond, but even when he’s traveling throughout the Queen’s Dominion, he’s still bound to follow American laws,” CREW Interim Executive Director Anne Weismann said.  

House rules prohibit members of Congress from spending campaign funds on anything unrelated to a campaign or political purpose. Rep. Gohmert’s trip, which included speeches to people ineligible to vote for or contribute to him, served no such purpose, prompting CREW to file a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. This was the second complaint CREW has filed against the Texas congressman, following a 2013 incident in which Rep. Gohmert used his position in Congress to get out of a parking ticket.

Nominations are already being accepted for February’s Scoundrel of the Month. People, entities, and agencies are all eligible. Submit your choices by Friday, February 20. Voting will begin the following week.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or jlibowitz@citizensforethics.org.