The House Ethics Committee has voted to launch an investigation into Democratic Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick of Florida over alleged campaign finance violations.
Cherfilus-McCormick was elected to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District in a special election in 2021, filling the vacancy created by the death of Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings.
Amid allegations that Cherfilus-McCormick violated campaign finance laws during her special election campaign and, later, during her general election campaign in the 2022 midterms, the committee voted unanimously to begin an investigation, according to a Wednesday news release.
The release specifies that the focus of the investigation will be Cherfilus-McCormick’s 2022 campaigns, as well as her required statements to the House, such as ethics and financial disclosures, and alleged unpaid employment of an individual for official work.
The probe comes after the Office of Congressional Ethics referred the matter to the Ethics Committee on Sept. 25.
The committee had been due to announce a decision on the matter on Nov. 9, but decided to extend the deadline to gather more information.
The allegations about Cherfilus-McCormick concern her alleged use of taxpayer funds to produce campaign ads for her 2022 re-election effort, according to Inside Elections.
While members of Congress are allowed to use official funds for television advertisements, the content of these ads is limited to “official business” and must “steer clear of campaign content,” Inside Elections reported in June 2022.
In the contracts she signed with television providers to place the ads, Cherfilus-McCormick reportedly identified herself as a political candidate and, in one contract, listed her campaign office as the addressee.
She also relied on one of her campaign fundraisers, Mark Goodrich, to execute the agreement with the providers.
“As the Ethics Committee said in its statement, the mere fact of establishing an investigative subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation occurred. Regardless, the Congresswoman takes these matters seriously and is working to resolve them,” Jonathan Levin, Cherfilus-McCormick’s press secretary, said in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation.