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Republican-led group files ethics complaint against Horsford

Updated May 20, 2020 - 2:39 pm

A watchdog group with ties to former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt says it filed a complaint Wednesday against Rep. Steven Horsford with the Office of Congressional Ethics, asking for an investigation into alleged payments and favors given during the course of his extramarital affair with a former U.S. Senate intern.

Americans for Public Trust Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland said the complaint asks the office to look into allegations against Horsford made by Gabriela Linder, who recently began detailing her longtime affair with Horsford in a public podcast titled “Mistress for Congress.”

Americans for Public Trust describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog group. Its website lists Laxalt, the Republican former attorney general and current state chair for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, as outside counsel; and Sutherland, a former researcher for the National Republican Congressional Committee, as executive director.

In her podcast and a subsequent interview with the Review-Journal, Linder said Horsford provided financial support and secured job interviews for her. Horsford also appeared on Linder’s son’s YouTube channel, in a segment apparently shot by his congressional staff in his office.

Sutherland said in an interview that these accusations were of top concern.

Horsford’s staff has said he never gave Linder any money or support from his congressional fund or any of his campaign accounts. Linder said she does not recall receiving any gifts from his official accounts, and neither the Review-Journal nor Americans for Public Trust found any instances in which Horsford’s campaigns gave money to Linder or her consulting company.

His office reaffirmed Wednesday that Linder never worked for Horsford nor received campaign or official funds from him.

But Sutherland contends the Office of Congressional Ethics can access files and information not readily available to the public or that have been improperly labeled with the Federal Elections Committee.

The Review-Journal has submitted a request to the ethics office to confirm it received the complaint.

The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent, nonpartisan entity that can refer complaints to the House Committee on Ethics, which can call for deeper investigation or impose punishments on members of Congress. A complaint does not necessarily mean an investigation will follow, and the office typically shares its investigation results only if a report is referred to the House committee.

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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