One would think that since Republican Congressman Michael McCaul serves on the House Ethics Committee, he wouldn't be constantly dogged by accusations of ethical misconduct. While his violations may not break the law, they certainly don't pass the smell test. Here's a run-down of recent revelations about Michael McCaul's unethical behaviors.
Michael McCaul Engaged In Insider Trading Before He Voted to Ban It
This is just sloppy. Michael McCaul bought TransCanada stock — the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline — the day before he urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to approve the project. Then, McCaul sponsored the STOCK Act to ban the exact kind of insider trading he engaged in!
Here's the timeline:
- December 21st, 2010 — Michael McCaul purchased as much as $65,000 in TransCanada stock. [LINK] (Warning, opens PDF)
- December 22nd, 2010 — McCaul sent a letter to the Secretary of State urging approval of TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline project. [LINK]
- January 31st, 2012 — McCaul became a co-sponsor of the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act
McCaul clearly was feeling the heat when he sponsored the STOCK Act, a law that had languished in Congress for six years. Suddenly in this era of public outrage over income inequality, McCaul's blatant greed and subservience to the 1% is a much greater political liability.
According to a press release from challenger Dan Grant's campaign, McCaul has also been advocating publicly on behalf of TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline for over a year while having investments worth as much as $1 million in at least 9 companies who could benefit from the project.
In an interview with KVUE, Grant stated, “You shouldn't be going to Congress to support legislation that profits you personally. That's the definition of insider trading, and it's deeply troubling.”
Michael McCaul Withdrew from House Ethics Committee Investigation After Receiving Inappropriate Confidential Information
McCaul was one of the four Republicans on the House Ethics Committee who withdrew from an investigation of Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, due to questions swirling around his impartiality. Last July after allegations of bias by GOP members of the Ethics Committee, the panel was forced to hire an outside lawyer to investigate the committee and its handling of the Waters case.
According to Politico, two top Ethics Committee lawyers are accused of secretly communicating with Republicans on the panel investigating Waters. McCaul allegedly received confidential documents during the investigation of Rep. Charlie Rangel that he was not allowed to view. The documents would have apparently “so tained the proceedings that there would have been no option but to move to dismiss.” The two attorneys who leaked the information were suspended from their jobs, and no longer work on the Ethics Commission. Of course, McCaul is right at the center of these ethical transgressions.
“Congressman McCaul should have known that it was inappropriate to review those confidential documents,” said Campaign Manager Joe Hamill in a press statement. “This is another example of McCaul playing fast and loose with the ethical rules in Congress.”
Michael McCaul Used Taxpayer Money to Host Event for High-Dollar Donors
Just yesterday, McCaul hosted an annual event at the Headliner's Club, which usually hosts posh fundraisers in a tony downtown high-rise. Last year, McCaul paid for the event from his officeholder account, raising questions about whether taxpayer dollars should be utilized to allow McCaul to visit intimately with some of his biggest donors.
Research by the Dan Grant campaign has unearthed documents demonstrating that McCaul receives thousands of dollars of donations from members and officers of the Headliners Club, many of whom attend his annual event. In fact, just in February 2011, McCaul received $5400 from current and past officers of the club. On the same day McCaul's office paid the Headliner's Club, he received $3000 from two then-current officers of the Headliner's Club.
“It's flatly wrong for McCaul to charge taxpayers for his private events at exclusive clubs with his biggest donors,” challenger Dan Grant said in a press statement. “It's clear that he values schmoozing with his wealthy backers more than answering to the taxpayers who pay his salary. He needs to pay back what he owes and meet face-to-face with the people he claims to serve.”
Engaging in insider trading before voting to ban it? Receiving confidential, prejudicial information in a House Ethics Commission investigation? Charging taxpayers to rub elbows with his biggest donors?
Michael McCaul is what's wrong with Congress, and he has to go.