Republican Congressman May Have Misspent Thousands In Campaign Funds

1duncan022702 -- Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr.
Mark F. Sypher/CQ-Roll Call Group

The Office of Congressional Ethics has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) for his possible misappropriation of funds from his campaign committee and leadership PAC for personal use, the House committee said Wednesday.

“…There is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Duncan’s campaign committee and leadership PAC expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes,” the Office of Congressional Ethics’ report said.

Looking back a full decade into Duncan’s Federal Election Commission records, the office found “multiple instances in which the campaign committee expended funds for the personal benefit of Rep. Duncan’s family and friends.” Some of those examples included in the report are private travel, weddings and baby showers, and personal cell phones.

The possibly inappropriately spending detailed in the report totals more than $100,000, though the document contains caveats that this referral does not necessarily mean that “any violation has occurred.”   

David Goch and Heidi Abegg, Duncan’s counsel from law firm Webster, Chamberlain & Bean LLP, responded with a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics claiming that the accusations are specious and that the referral to the House Ethics Office should be dismissed.

“We urge the Committee to reject the OCE’s recommendation that it further review these allegations and close its investigation of this matter as the OCE has presented no compelling support for concluding that substantial reason exists for a belief that a violation occurred,” they wrote. “The facts, testimony, and law support a dismissal.”

Duncan has held his office since 1988 and had previously announced in late July that he would not seek reelection in the 2018 midterm election in order to spend more time with his family.

Read the Office of Congressional Ethics’ full report below:

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