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Jan 27, 2014

CREW Renews Request for OCE to Investigate Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)

Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)Washington, D.C. — Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) renewed its request for the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) after the congressman once again abused his position to advance his personal financial interests.  Earlier this month, during a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Valadao testified in opposition to California’s high-speed rail project, but failed to inform his colleagues that he stands to benefit financially if the project dies.

Read CREW's complaint to the OCE.

In testimony during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee entitled “A Review of the Challenges Facing California High Speed Rail,” Rep. Valadao extensively criticized the planned rail line.  He complained about its cost and said it would negatively affect farms and businesses in his district.  Rep. Valadao did not disclose that his family operates Valadao Dairy, which owns hundreds of acres of land along the proposed path of the rail project.  Many of the most vocal opponents of the rail line have claimed it will reduce their property values.  According to House precedents, members may not sponsor legislation, advocate, or participate in a committee proceeding when their financial interests are at issue.

“It seems Rep. Valadao is no more familiar with House ethics rules now than he was six months ago when he first violated them,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.  “As he continues to flout his obligation to inform his colleagues of his financial conflict of interest, it is all the more urgent that the Office of Congressional Ethics conduct a full investigation.”

CREW filed its original OCE complaint against Rep. Valadao last July, after he successfully offered an amendment to the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that would have required the federal Surface Transportation Board to approve the high-speed rail project in its entirety rather than allowing it to incrementally approve the construction of new segments.  According to Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s board, if passed into law, the amendment could have killed the entire project.

“Rep. Valadao’s continued advocacy for policies that benefit his own bottom line is seedy, but perhaps unsurprising as it appears to be consequence-free,” continued Sloan.  “To send the message that violations of House rules will not be tolerated, ethics investigators must hold him to account.”

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