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July 27, 2013

Ethics Committee considers Tierney investigation

SALEM — The U.S. House Committee on Ethics is considering whether to investigate Congressman John Tierney and will announce its decision on or before Sept. 11.

The committee did not state what the matter was about, but Tierney confirmed it concerns familiar questions about his failure to disclose money that his wife, Patrice, received from her brother in return for managing a bank account for him. Tierney has said the money was a family gift and did not need to be disclosed under congressional rules.

“I welcome the opportunity to finally put this issue to rest after years of my opponents attacking me and my family,” Tierney said. “For more than three years they have tried repeatedly to misrepresent gifts my wife received from her brother in appreciation for caring for their dying mother and his three children who were without parental supervision.

“There is nothing new,” Tierney added, “that has not already been reviewed in both a court of law and by the voters of my district who sent me back to Congress in two subsequent elections.”

The Committee on Ethics posted a brief statement on its website yesterday saying that Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., “have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Rep. John Tierney, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on June 13, 2013.

“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

The issue revolves around Patrice Tierney’s brothers, Robert and Daniel Eremian, who prosecutors say ran an illegal offshore betting business in Antigua. While her brother Robert was living out of the country, Patrice managed a bank account for him here. She wrote regular checks to herself from that account, which she characterized as gifts from her brother.

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