By Steven Piper
After reviewing the results of a seven-month investigation by its Investigative Subcommittee, the United States Congress’s Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (CSOC) has unanimously voted to dismiss allegations against Congresswoman Laura Richardson, who represents California’s 37th District.
After foreclosing a few years ago on her Sacramento home, which was subsequently purchased, repossessed by Washington Mutual, and eventually turned back over to Richardson, the congresswoman was accused of knowingly receiving a gift and preferential treatment from that lender.
According to a statement released by the CSOC on July 1: “Representative Richardson did not knowingly accept a gift from Washington Mutual Bank or violate any applicable standard of conduct in connection with the purchase of, foreclosure on, rescission of foreclosure sale for, or modification of loan terms for a residential property she owns in Sacramento, California.”
According to the same statement, during the investigation, 14 subpoenas had been issued, seven witnesses were interviewed, and approximately 7,000 pages of documents were reviewed. An independent mortgage consultant was also hired for industry-related insight.
Richardson also issued a message to her constituents on July 1. “Today closes a chapter and opens a door. The Committee’s bipartisan report confirms that I have at all times acted in accordance with my ethical duties as a member of Congress,” Richardson said. “I am thankful this is over and behind me and I can continue to do what I enjoy, which is serving the people of California’s 37th District.”
In addition to dropping charges against Richardson, the Standards Committee also unanimously voted to refer mortgage broker Charles Thomas to the Justice Department for potential action. Thomas admitted to knowingly submitting fraudulent information connected to Richardson’s mortgage application to Washington Mutual without her cognizance.