The House Ethics Committee announced Tuesday that it’s looking into Republican Tennessee Representative John Duncan Jr., whose name was apparently referred to the House in January by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
While the committee didn’t disclose what the “referral” entailed, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported last July that Duncan’s campaign, Duncan for Congress, paid Duncan’s son upwards of $7,000 per month over five years after John Duncan III pleaded guilty in 2013 to felony misconduct charges and resigned from his position as Knox County Trustee.
At the time, Duncan said that “every expenditure” from his campaign was in compliance with Federal Election Commission law, and that “many members of Congress, past and present, have paid family members for campaign work.”
He has continued to defend his campaign’s actions. In a statement to Politico, Duncan called the referral “obviously very political and done by someone who was afraid I was going to run for reelection.” Duncan announced last summer he would not seek another term.
“The OCE, after going over these thousands of expenditures, felt it should be left up to the Ethics Committee to decide whether a very few of the larger expenditures were political and allowed to be paid for by campaign funds,” he continued. “I can and will assure the committee, if asked to do so, that they were all political and helped me in my campaigns.”
Duncan added that his staff and family’s work on his campaign has helped him “run some of the cheapest congressional campaigns in this country.”
The House has until April 4 to decide whether it will launch an official investigation.