Ethics panel rebukes W.Va. Rep. McKinley over business name
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee scolded West Virginia Rep. David McKinley on Wednesday for disregarding House rules by failing to change the name of his self-titled engineering firm after joining Congress.
McKinley, a Republican, owned McKinley & Associates, an engineering and architecture firm in his home state, before his election to Congress in 2010. After the election, he asked the ethics committee whether he needed to change the firm’s name. The panel said yes.
Instead, McKinley sold his interest in the firm with the name intact.
The bipartisan ethics panel told McKinley in a letter that he violated a House rule that prohibits lawmakers from allowing their names to be used by firms that provide professional services for a fee. His actions did not reflect creditably on the House, the panel said.
The rebuke is considered mild and ends the inquiry.
McKinley said in a statement Wednesday that he was surprised to learn after his election that architecture is considered a fiduciary profession under House rules. His attorney concluded he had two options: change the firm’s name or sell the company, McKinley said.
“We chose the latter. Unfortunately, the advice of my former attorney was incorrect,” he said. Months later, the ethics panel insisted that the name would also need to be changed, but the new owners were unwilling to do so, McKinley said.
While he disagrees with the panel’s conclusions, “I accept that the committee’s release of a letter and report resolves this issue,” McKinley said.