The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has released a report in the inquiry regarding Mississippi 4th District Congressman Steven Palazzo’s use of campaign funds, complete with spending records and interviews with staff members.  While the report casts a very negative light on Palazzo’s campaign expenditures, it is only a referral for additional action and not a final disciplinary action.

Palazzo OCE Rev. 20-2124 – Referral by yallpolitics on Scribd

In September 2020, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the House Committee on Ethics regarding Congressman Palazzo. The matter was extended by the Ethics Committee chairman and ranking member in December 2020, allowing the 117th Congress to take up the review.

According to an OCE release late Monday, Palazzo’s campaign committee, Palazzo for Congress, reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.

“If Rep. Palazzo converted campaign funds from Palazzo for Congress to personal use, or if Rep. Palazzo’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Rep. Palazzo may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,” the OCE stated.

OCE goes on to state that Palazzo may have improperly spent a portion of his Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA) on personal or campaign expenses.

“If Rep. Palazzo spent MRA funds on personal or campaign expenses, then Rep. Palazzo may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,” the release continues.

The OCE adds that Congressman Palazzo may have performed official actions to assist his brother, Kyle Palazzo.

“If Rep. Palazzo performed special favors for his brother, then Rep. Palazzo may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,” OCE states.

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is an independent, non-partisan entity charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members, officers, and staff of the United States House of Representatives and, when appropriate, referring matters to the House Committee on Ethics.

The OCE recommended that the House Ethics Committee further review the allegations concerning Palazzo because, as the release states, “there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Palazzo converted funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.”

The OCE also recommended that the House Ethics Committee further review the allegation concerning Palazzo’s spending of MRA funds on personal or campaign expenses and regarding the allegation of performing special favors for his brother.

The House Ethics Committee released a statement noting that their review of the referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.

The full statement can be read below.

Pursuant to Committee Rule 7, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics (Committee) determined on March 1, 2021, to release the following statement:

On September 2, 2020, the Committee received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) regarding Representative Steven Palazzo. Pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(8)(A), and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A) and 17A(c)(1), and 17A(j) the Chairman and Ranking Member jointly decided on December 17, 2020, to extend the Committee’s review of the matter. In order to gather additional information necessary to complete its review, the Committee will review the matter pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a). The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.

In order to comply with Committee Rule 7 regarding confidentiality, out of fairness to all respondents, and to assure the integrity of its work, the Committee will refrain from making further public statements on this matter pending completion of its initial review.

Pursuant to Committee Rule 17A, the Committee hereby publishes OCE’s Report and Findings relating to allegations against Representative Palazzo and Representative Palazzo’s submission to the Committee.