Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he is responding to media reports and public inquiries regarding a US Department of Justice review of his financial disclosures as reported by Roll Call on March 13, 2006 and Samoa News on March 14, 2006.
“Every year, Members of Congress are required to financially disclose income, trips, etc which I have done in accordance with federal law,” Faleomavaega said. “These disclosures are a matter of public record and any federal agency, including the Justice Department, can pull these records and review them at any time and, often times, this is done without the Member’s knowledge even though the record centers in the House and Senate keep a list of the names of all individuals who examine these files.”
“Like all Members of Congress, I support full disclosure and the practice of federal and public review. This practice ensures that there is accountability regarding the conduct of officials who are elected by the public.”
“In the case of my disclosures, I learned on Monday through media reports that Justice reviewed my records. However, to be clear, Justice reviewed my records almost a year ago and I have not been contacted by Justice nor have I heard anything else about this matter.”
“Due to the fact that the Justice Department also pulled the records of Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida, Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington, and Democratic Congressman Earl Pomeroy from North Dakota, I suspect this could be related to the probe surrounding former Republican House Majority Leader Congressman Tom Delay.”
“As I stated in a press release dated March 11, 2005, I, as did Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Jim McDermott, and Congressman Earl Pomeroy, traveled to Korea on a trip financed by the Alexander Strategy Group, the US-Korea Exchange Council, and the Heritage Foundation which is one of our nation’s most respected and conservative research institutions. The trip was cleared by the House Ethics Committee on Standards of Official Conduct which provides information and guidance to House Members and is responsible for administering the gift and financial disclosure requirements established by House rules.”
“While the Committee cleared our travel, it was later learned that a member of the Alexander Strategy Group had ties to Congressman Tom Delay who later came under investigation. As I said last year, I pre-clear all my travel with the House Ethics Committee and I also publicly disclose my travel in accordance with House rules. If anyone wants to review these records, you are welcome to do so,” Faleomavaega concluded.