Representative Laura Richardson recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for forcing her Congressional staff members to work on her 2010 campaign.
The House Ethics Committee recommended the punishment and claimed that Richardson also used official goveernment resources for personal purposes and obstructed the committee’s investigation by attempts to alter evidence and efforts to influence the testimony of staff members who would be witnesses in the investigation.
Richardson accepted the punishment, although in July she originally challenged the accusation which has caused the Ethics Committee to doubt her sincerity.
Nevertheless, Richardson’s office released a statement saying, “Representative Richardson takes this matter with the utmost seriousness and takes full responsibility for her actions and those that were done by anyone else under her employ.”
According to the committee, employees were expected to close the congresswoman’s Long Beach office at 6 p.m. every workday and then go to the campaign office to answer the phone and perform “precinct walks.” Staff members also were expected to attend campaign events on weekends and Richardson reportedly required a staffer to volunteer for her opponent’s campaign to gain information.
The committee has for the future discouraged Richardson from allowing official staffers to do any campaign work, whether for pay or as volunteers, and said that any staff member doing so should sign a waiver declaring that it was voluntary.