The House Ethics Committee is reviewing the conduct of Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Il., one of Congress's leading advocates for overhauling the nation's immigration laws.
The ethics committee announced Thursday that the Office of Congressional Ethics, which probes allegations of wrongdoing by House members, referred the Gutierrez matter to the committee.
The ethics committee didn't specify the specific allegations against the 60-year-old Democrat from Chicago. USA Today reported that Gutierrez had had a Chicago-based lobbyist, Doug Scofield, working on his congressional staff for years. The paper reported that Scofield was paid thousands of dollars a month as a contractor to work with Gutierrez's staff.
Douglas Rivlin, a Gutierrez spokesman said the matter 'relates to whether a long-standing contract was allowable under House rules.'
'The contract for services was reviewed and approved by the House of Representatives and submitted for renewal each Congress for 10 years,' Rivlin said in a statement. 'It was consistently and properly reported. Rep. Gutierrez cancelled the contract last year.'
In its statement, the ethics committee noted that 'the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.'