By STEVE LeBLANC
BOSTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee is extending its review of allegations that Rep. Lori Trahan accepted excessive campaign contributions and reported them as personal loans even though they may not have been sourced from her personal funds.
The committee also released a report Tuesday from the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog that make recommendations to the committee. The report included allegations that Trahan’s husband David Trahan deposited funds into a joint checking account that Trahan used to make $300,000 in loans to her campaign.
The report said that while the money doesn’t appear to have originated from Trahan’s personal funds, the campaign repeatedly reported them as personal loans.
“There is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Trahan’s campaign committee accepted personal loans and contributions that exceeded campaign contribution limits,” the report concluded.
Neither Trahan nor her husband cooperated with its review, the report said.
Lawyers representing Rep. Trahan have challenged the allegation that the money was her husband’s saying the funds were, in fact, her “personal funds” before they were transferred to her joint account because the couple signed a pre-marital agreement that provides that each party “shall have equal rights in regard to the management of and disposition of all marital property.
“It was under this longstanding practice, with each spouse exercising equal rights to manage and dispose of marital income, that Mr. Trahan transferred income into the joint checking account, and Representative Trahan loaned funds from that account to her campaign,” the response said.
Trahan’s attorneys said she didn’t cooperate with the office because it lacked jurisdiction to investigate her campaign.
Trahan addressed the situation in a public statement in October, pointing to the written agreement between she and her husband, and noting that she had earned $361,000 in 2017 and $274,000 in 2018.
“When Dave and I got married in 2007, we made a deal. And we actually wrote it down. All of the income that each of us earned would be our marital property, and each of us would have an equal right to manage and spend it. What I earned was our money and what he earned was our money,” she wrote. “We didn’t distinguish.”
Trahan narrowly edged out Dan Koh by 145 votes in a 10-candidate Democratic primary in 2018 for the state’s 3rd Congressional District. She went on to win the general election.
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