Congressman Sanford Bishop responds to ethics report that claims he misappropriated campaign funds

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A Georgia congressman has found himself in hot water after a Congressional Ethics investigation.

The investigation into Representative Democrat Sanford Bishop will continue after an ethics probe found reason to believe he converted campaign funds for personal use.

The report from the Office of Congressional Ethics was released on Friday.

The report states that Bishop may have violated House rules, standards of conduct and federal law, There is no timetable for the completion of the extended investigation.

This 33-page report outlines a number of issues involving Congressman Bishop and his wife, Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop.

Among the findings:

— Bishop paid for memberships, meals and fees at two private golf clubs — Stonebridge Golf and country Club in Albany and Green Island Country Club in Columbus — out of his campaign account.

— Paid more than $33,000 in monthly fees to Green Island since 2014.

— Bishop and his wife regularly paid for gas and some auto repairs out of the campaign account.

— Bishop took golf trips and paid for them out of the campaign account.

— Mrs. Bishop accidentally withdrew money from the account for personal use, including a granddaughter’s tuition.

— Both Bishops held a joint annual Christmas party for their staffs at Green Island Country Club from 2015-2018. The events cost more than $16,000.

“As we began to gather material that was requested, it became evident that there were some things that had been done improperly,” Sanford Bishop said Monday morning. “And so we committed at that moment, immediately, to the Office of Congressional Ethics that we would fully cooperate and to the extent that anything was inappropriate we would take corrective steps.”

The training and installation of a new treasurer to oversee the Campaign’s activities. The report blamed the issues were blamed on lack of oversight by former campaign treasurer Evelyn Turner Pugh. She had been in that role most of Bishop’s congressional tenure.

In his official response to the findings through the Washington law office of Perkins Coie Bishop has issued personal checks  to the Campaign for reimbursement of dues payments and certain other expenses.

Congressman Bishop was first elected in 1992 to represent the 2nd District. He is facing Republican challenger Donald Cole in November.

Read a summary of the investigations released by the U.S. House of Representatives, deciding to extend their review:

Documents submitted as exhibits for evidence can be read online here, on the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ethics site.

Congressman Bishop’s representatives responded to the investigation and the findings with the following release:

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