Ethics Committee to investigate Rep. Shelley Berkley

July 10, 2012

By Jordy Yager -The Hill

The House Ethics Committee announced Monday that it will formally investigate Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) over allegations she violated House rules by using her position in Congress to benefit her husband’s medical practice.

The decision could have serious repercussions for her Senate bid. She is challenging incumbent Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Republicans have hammered her repeatedly on the issue.

Polls have shown a close race in the important swing state, and the outcome of the race could determine which party controls the upper chamber next year.

The allegations have battered her campaign against Heller, as American Crossroads, a GOP super-PAC, has sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into attacks on Berkley’s ethical record, forcing her to air responsive ads in her defense.


The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) promptly issued a statement on the investigation.

“It speaks volumes that even Shelley Berkley’s Democrat colleagues unanimously voted to move forward investigating Berkley’s use of her office to enrich her and her husband,” said NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer. “Since Berkley entered the political arena we’ve seen a long pattern of ethical questions surrounding her conduct. Nevadans deserve someone in the Senate who they can trust to work on their behalf and not someone — like Ms. Berkley — who puts her own financial and political interests first.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reiterated its support for Berkley.

“Shelley Berkley is a proven fighter for her constituents and a proven winner on the campaign trail, and our support for her campaign remains as strong as ever,” said DSCC executive director Guy Cecil in a statement. “Voters will certainly recognize that Shelley always puts the needs of Nevadans first whether she was working to create jobs or to save the only kidney transplant center in the state. What voters will not forgive is Dean Heller’s support for essentially ending Medicare and forcing seniors to pay more than $6,000 more for their health care.”

The ethics panel will examine allegations about a liver transplant program Berkley pushed to keep open. Berkley’s husband is one of the state’s premier liver transplant doctors.

Berkley has maintained her innocence and balked at the charges, saying that the kidney transplant program was vital to keeping Nevadans healthy and that she was not motivated by personal or professional gain for her husband’s medical practice.

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