House to launch ethics investigation of Rep. Laura Richardson

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Reporting from Washington— The House Ethics Committee voted Thursday to launch an investigation into whether Rep. Laura Richardsonpressured her congressional staff to work on her campaign, adding to her political troubles as she faces a tough reelection campaign next year.

The investigation is expected to be announced Friday. The panel, equally divided betweenDemocrats and Republicans, largely operates in secret. Members voted unanimously to form a four-member investigative subcommittee — with power to subpoena witnesses and documents — to examine whether the Long Beach Democrat violated House standards of conduct. The investigation is likely to take months.

A source familiar with the preliminary inquiry discussed it on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. At least eight current and former Richardson staff members told investigators they felt compelled to work on her 2010 reelection campaign on their own time, the source said. Some said House resources, such as congressional phones and copying machines, were used in the campaign, the source said.

Full story: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-1104-richardson-ethics-20111104,0,7832011.story