McClatchy DC: Texas congressman promotes an accounting method that benefits his car dealerships


The amendment passed by voice vote, despite opposition from some Democrats, and the ethics complaint was filed a few months later by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit focused on campaign finance issues. The complaint has not been resolved, and Williams did not cooperate in an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Meredith McGehee, chief of policy at Issue One – a nonprofit that seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics – and author of the complaint against Williams during her time at the Campaign Legal Center, said his support of LIFO did not break congressional rules.

“It is the individual member’s decision . . . whether or not he or she recuses himself,” McGehee said.

McGehee said any potential LIFO legislation would likely benefit a broad class of business owners beyond car dealers like Williams, and therefore wouldn’t violate ethics rules. But Williams could recuse himself from a vote or at least state for the record that he would financially benefit from a LIFO bill.

“Very few members ever do that,” McGehee said.

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