House officials under inquiry

A Congressional ethics body is investigating whether campaign contributions to Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine) and seven other congressmen influenced their votes on last year's financial regulatory reform bill.

Campbell's spokesman confirmed Thursday that the congressman's office had received a letter requesting information about campaign contributions.

"We have been approached by the Office of Congressional Ethics along with a number of other House offices for a preliminary review, and we are fully cooperative and we look forward to an expedient and favorable resolution," spokesman Brent Hall said.

Campbell, 54, represents the 48th Congressional District, which encompasses Newport Beach.

The letter from the House ethics office also was sent to Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chris Lee (R-N.Y.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Mel Watt (D-N.C.), according to The Hill, a Washington political publication that obtained the letter.

As a matter of due process, the House Office of Congressional Ethics does not comment on pending investigations, spokesman Jon Steinman said.

The investigation is preliminary and does not mean the congressmen committed unethical acts. In its first quarterly report, the House ethics office opened 48 investigations — about half of which were not referred to the ethics committee, according to its website.

A bill, HR 4173, also known as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, tightened the belt on Wall Street and was meant to protect consumers in light of the financial crisis.

Campbell is running for reelection in November. He is being challenged by Irvine City Councilwoman Beth Krom, a Democrat.

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