Rep. John Campbell subject of ethics probe

HT to OC Weekly, but The Hill newspaper is reporting that OC Congressman John Campbell is the subject of a House ethics probe that focuses on an amendment by Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to the financial regulatory reform bill that passed late last year.  Campbell is one of several congressional reps being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics; Campbell actually opposed the Watt amendment which would have included auto dealers under the oversight of a proposed finance industry watchdog,.  This Consumer Financial Protection Agency would oversee companies that provide auto financing, and used-car dealers offering “buy here, pay here” financing. Without Watt’s amendment, franchised auto dealers would be exempted.  Campbell is a former automobile dealer in OC before getting involved in politics.

From the report:

“It is unclear whether the ethics office is investigating whether other members held suspect fundraisers close to a critical floor vote on regulatory reform.

The other lawmakers involved are Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), John Campbell (R-Calif.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chris Lee (R-N.Y.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.).

Campbell openly opposed the Watt amendment. After Watt withdrew it, he thanked him on the House floor for working with him and making “a number of suggestions” that “clarified some things that were, frankly, confusing and conflicting in the bill.”

Campbell held two fundraisers just a few days before Watt withdrew the amendment. One was at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Capitol Hill Club on Dec. 8, and another was a California wine tasting held December 9.

Several financial-services industry PACs contributed to Campbell around that date, including KPMG, Ameriprise, the Mortgage Bankers Association, Credit Suisse Securities, Charles Schwab and Ford Motor Co.

 On Monday, Brent Hall, a spokesman for Campbell, called the OCE investigation “routine.” Hall did not comment by press time on Tuesday.”