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House Ethics Committee Investigating a Congresswoman From Florida

The U.S. House Ethics Committee announced last week that it is investigating U.S. Rep. Shelia Cherfilus-McCormick, D-Fla., over possible campaign finance violations and other matters.

U.S. Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., the chairman of the committee, and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Penn., who leads Democrats on it released a joint statement last week on the investigation.

“In accordance with House Rule XI, clause 3, and Committee Rules 10(a)(2) and 17A, the Committee unanimously voted to establish an Investigative Subcommittee. Pursuant to the Committee’s action, the Investigative Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other applicable standard of conduct in the performance of her duties or the discharge of her responsibilities, with respect to allegations that she may have violated campaign finance laws and regulations in connection with her 2022 special election and/or 2022 re-election campaigns; failed to properly disclose required information on statements required to be filed with the House; and/or accepted voluntary services for official work from an individual not employed in her congressional office,” they announced.

“The Committee has determined to take this action following receipt of a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding this matter. The Committee notes that the mere fact of establishing an Investigative Subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred,” they added. “No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with Committee rules. Pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(8)(B)(iii), and Committee Rule 17A(f)(1), no documents will be released at this time.”

U.S. Rep. Andre Gabarino, R-NY, will lead the subcommittee looking at Cherfilus-McCormick with U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Penn., leading Democrats on it. U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Oreg., and Troy Carter, D-La., will also serve on the subcommittee.

A spokesperson for the congresswoman talked to The Hill on the matter.

“As the Ethics Committee said in its statement, the mere fact of establishing an investigative subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation occurred. Regardless, the Congresswoman takes these matters seriously and is working to resolve them,” the spokesperson told The Hill.

In a special election held at the start of 2022, Cherfilus-McCormick replaced longtime U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., who died in April 2021. She took 79 percent of the vote while Republican Jason Mariner got 19 percent, Libertarian Mike ter Maat garnered 1 percent and two candidates–Jim Flynn and Lenny Serratore–who were both running with no party affiliation–each pulled around .5 percent.

Cherfilus-McCormick had a much tougher time winning the primary in that special election. After several recounts, Cherfilus-McCormick prevailed over Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness and a large crowd to win the Democratic nomination. After recounts were finished and with all votes in, Cherfilus-McCormick beat Holness by five votes–11,662–23.76 percent–to 11,657 votes–23.75 percent.

After taking 26 percent of the Democratic primary vote against Hastings in 2018 and 32 percent of it in 2020, Cherfilus-McCormick ran a third time and she and Holness outpaced the field. Holness drew heavily in Broward County, taking 29 percent of the vote there, while Cherfilus-McCormick pulled 21 percent, enough for second place there. But she ran away in Palm Beach County, taking 30 percent while he garnered only 8 percent there.

Facing Holness in a rematch in the primary in August 2022, Cherfilus-McCormick won by a far larger margin. She won with 65 percent of the vote, while Holness finished a distant second with 29 percent of the vote.

In November 2022, Cherfilus-McCormick routed Republican businessman Drew-Montez Clark, besting him 72.3 percent to 27.7


  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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