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According to an internal federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Virginia Commerce Secretary Maurice Jones improperly lobbied Congress as a member of the Obama administration.
An internal federal probe has concluded that Maurice Jones, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s new commerce secretary, improperly lobbied Congress while he was in the Obama administration last year.
Mr. Jones, who was a deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, sent an email to more than 1,000 recipients—including 46 people at HUD—asking them to contact senators to “defend against efforts by some Republicans” to prevent a housing bill to come up for a vote, according to the internal probe. The message also asked “friends and supporters” to tell senators to vote “no” on another amendment.
A monthslong investigation by the HUD’s office of inspector general concluded that Mr. Jones and four others at HUD appear to have violated anti-lobbying laws, which restrict the use of funds for publicity or propaganda directed at pending legislation before Congress. The probe also concluded that Mr. Jones violated internal HUD policy on lobbying by federal employees.
At his inauguration, Governor McAuliffe pledged to ask the Virginia General Assembly to enact the strongest possible new ethics rules to hold all Virginia elected officials to the highest of standards. Question is, will he do the same to the members of his own cabinet?