Congressmember Lois Capps

Paul Wellman (file)

Congressmember Lois Capps

Capps Violated Congressional Ethics?

State Republicans Point to Unreported Rental Income from 2001 to 2005

Monday, November 5, 2012
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The California Republican Party has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to look into whether Representative Lois Capps violated House rules or federal law when she rented a studio apartment to a staffer and failed to disclose the income for several years.

News reports in August showed Capps failed to disclose $41,480 of rental income from 2001-2005. An accountant for Capps reported the money to the House Legislative Resource Center — which monitors financial disclosures from congressmembers — in 2006, explaining it was an oversight, but her tax returns were not amended until earlier this year.

Capps, a Democrat who is engaged in a tough election battle with former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado, said in news reports that once she realized the mistake, she fixed it. But Republicans are wondering why her accountant, David Powdrell, reported the income to the House Legislative Resource Center in 2006, but failed to tell the IRS until 2012. “If Mr. Powdrell is being truthful by characterizing Rep. Capps’ failure to disclose the rental income on her financial disclosure form as an oversight, it is a [sic] reasonable to assume that he conferred directly with the Congresswoman prior to sending the letter to the House Legislative Resource Center on her behalf,” wrote California Republican Party Chair Tom Del Beccaro to an Office of Congressional Ethics staff director.

The Office of Congressional Ethics — made up of private citizens — has no subpoena power, nor is it authorized to determine if a violation has actually occurred. It can also not sanction or penalize members of Congress. What it can do is refer matters to the House Ethics Committee, which conducts investigations into whether House members have violated ethics standards.

Capps spokesperson Jeff Millman said Capps’s staff had conferred with the House Ethics Committee, and that there was no issue. “We realize it’s the final weekend, so we were expecting a desperate act from Mr. Maldonado, who is trying to escape responsibility for his $4.2 million in back taxes and still hasn’t released his tax returns, as he promised,” Millman said. “The actual House Ethics Committee has informed us there is no ethics violation here, so this advisory office will just discard Mr. Maldonado’s frivolous letter.”

In addition to raising issues about what Capps knew about her rental income and when, the letter also questioned the financial relationship between Capps and the staffer, Jeremy Tittle, noting that Tittle was either paying rent from income he received as a congressional staff member of Capps’s, or as a staffer for her campaigns.

The letter from Del Beccaro came Friday afternoon, four days prior to Election Day, and a few days after the state Democratic Party requested that the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) “immediately commence an enforcement action” against Maldonado in connection with reports that Maldonado’s family business deducted from its tax returns a party in his honor the same day as a political fundraiser for the then-state senator.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

It's still not gonna make anyone vote for Maldonado.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 12:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This has been a foul campaign from both sides. Whoever "wins" this will because they aren't considered as bad as the alternative.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 1:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Capps lives in a single-family residential R-1 zoned part of town. What was she renting a studio in the first place treating her home as business or as a de facto R-2 duplex. Was this a legally zoned granny unit?

Add willfully committing a possible zoning violation along with failure to disclose the income -- or were the two offenses interrelated. If she disclosed the income she would also be disclosing the zoning violation?

Oblati (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 2:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There's an illegal unit every ten feet in Santa Barbara Mr/s. Oblati. And does renting a room count as a "unit"? Funny this is the only issue Maldonado has yet to come up with. Pathetic.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When Lois breaks the law, it doesn't count. Only Maldonado's alleged activities are fodder for the liberal agenda.

So let's talk about Maldonado's taxes instead, OK?

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 3:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh brother, talk about a last dying gasp....what crap can I throw out there last minute and hope it sticks? I really doubt this was done maliciously. Probably an accounting mistake and unfortunately when your accountant messes up, or you forget to tell them something... you are a tax evading criminal. Run with this all you can Maldinado camp. He is soo Romney junior!

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 4:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you. That's better!

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 4:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The only issues the Maldonado campaign itself continues to bring forth are his taxes vs. Capps'; and the fact he's happy for more wars like ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Ken, do you remember the old Saturday Night Live spoof with Phil Hartman as Ronald Reagan? The one where Reagan is the hardcore, arms dealing President cracking down on his enemies around the globe?

Then an aide would announce "photo opportunity Mr. President" while ushering a little Girl Scout into the Oval Office - whereby SNL's Reagan immediately transformed into a smiling, twinkle-in-the-eye, oldtimer who snapped a few photos. Then it was "everybody out, everybody out" and he was back to the cut-throat, take charge role.

Reminds me of Lois and her supporters lately, playing up the "isn't she just the sweetest, nicest gal in town" bit. Meanwhile, behind the scenes she "forgets" to pay and report taxes and income, while running an incredibly negative campaign (for someone who ought to have SOMETHING positive to run on after being in office 14 years). I know you'll disagree. :-) Now back to my photo ops.

Scooter (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 4:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

hey Scooter
I drifted away from SNL by that time into the world of Punk Rock but it sounds like brilliant trageocomedy. We've all pretty much agreed that both sides have ignored real issues in favor of issues that don't directly effect any of us.
I grew up thinking all incumbents were always challenged in a primary (Kennedy/Carter), I think they should be regardles of how much I may like an incumbent or not. Doesn't have to be ugly or destructive but it does keep everyone fresh and noncomplacent, and the electorate less vulnerable to charlatans like Maldonado.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 4:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Renting a studio apartment is not renting a room. Sounds like an illegal unit to me. Which begs the question, would admitting to the income open the door to renting and illegal second unit in an R-1 zone?

If congresspersons are above the law, why should the little people care. Really, did she need the income. Why didn't she get it zoned as a legal granny unit?

This is a character issue and it looks like even Nurse Lois cuts corners where she can the same time she is "shocked" the Maldonado Family is having a legitimate dispute with the IRS awaiting final resolution.

Remind me to not call on Nurse Lois for CPR. Or Obamacare for that matter.

Oblati (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 5 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Photo caption: "You're kidding, you call THIS a book report?"

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 5:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oblati......I'm with you. Classic liberals!!!!! It's ok when they break the rules, but Romney and Abel are scumbags? such phonies.
I like the zoning violation are right. I know a few people at the city building department, maybe they should do a drive by and issue a zoning violation? but I am sure she will get one of her buddies at city hall to fix it.

susl07 (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 9:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So suddenly the property rights crowd is against property rights? How is it the same as garnering thousands in donations and calling them a birthday gift?
Classic NeoCons (not to be confused with Republicans- none of which are on the ballot except in Carp.)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 10:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's called "obeying the rules"........let's all try to live by the same rules....wake up.

susl07 (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 11:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank goodness these scurrilous attacks on Saint Lois will have no effect on her brethren; the next Mother Theresa cannot be felled so easily.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 5:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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