Musgrave Ponies Up to Avoid Ethics Complaint

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave skirted a congressional ethics violation by quickly issuing a $480 check for use of a vacation cabin owned by a politically-connected conservative activist.

Following an investigation by the Rocky Mountain News’ M.E. Sprengelmeyer, Guy Short admitted to the wrong-doing for not reimbursing Morton C. Blackwell when fifteen members of the congresswoman’s staff used his cabin for a retreat on January 24 and 25. From the Rocky:

However, House ethics rules explicitly ban private groups or individuals from providing anything of monetary value, such as food, materials or meeting space, to defray congressional offices’ costs for official events, including retreats, according to a 2001 advisory opinion from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

“With very limited exceptions … such outside assistance may not be accepted for an event sponsored by a House office,” according to the 2001 opinion, which was signed by retired Rep. Joel Hefley of Colorado, the Republican who chaired the committee at the time.

The timing of the retreat coincided with this reporter’s visit to the capitol and explains why the congresswoman’s office was not open. Though a “Gone Fishin'” sign still would have been polite rather than being greeted by a closed door with a threshold of piled up mail.