Rep. Davis may face ethics questions following aide's confession
The guilty plea this week by an aide to Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) - an aide who doesn't appear in official records at times that he was working for Davis - may raise questions for the lawmaker since ethics rules prohibit maintaining slush funds and hiring unpaid staff except under strict circumstances.
Staffer Ernest B. Moore confessed to fraud charges for using multiple aliases to run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card bills and student loans. On Capitol Hill, he went by the aliases Bernard Glenn-Moore and Bernard Moore. Moore came to the Hill in 2004, when he had a one-year senior policy fellowship with Davis's office through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (such official fellowships are permitted under ethics rules). In 2006, he transfered to Davis's office as a legislative assistant and earned a salary for a few more months. After that, no official record ties him to Davis's office, despite public evidence that Davis knew he was claiming to represent Davis as an aide.
Politico broke the story of Moore's plea and described how he maintains a working house.gov email address, has organized events on behalf of Davis and claimed in his Williams College biography, where he has taught over the past few years, to be a continuing aide to Davis.
The newspaper did not mention, however, that House ethics rules prohibit the use of "unofficial accounts", or unofficial employees, to supplement the official office budgets. Exceptions are applied for interns and official fellows programs, which does not appear to apply to Moore after 2006.
Yet Moore openly boasted of his official work for Davis - and in ways that did not escape the attention of the lawmaker and his aides. In fact, in June 2009, Moore served as the point of contact for a symposium of federal prison sentencing policy. Moore used a House email. Davis made opening remarks and chaired a panel discussion. He also promoted the event on his official web site.
The Williams College biography describes him as senior policy adviser to Davis since 2004 and "the Congressman's 'pen,'" writing reports and speeches for Rep. Davis, as well as writing legislation. The biography ascribes to Moore authorship of the Second Chance Act of 2007, a bill which sought to ease the reintegration of nonviolent criminal offenders into civil society.