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September 12, 2013

Ethics panel closes Tierney probe, finds no wrongdoing

SALEM — The U.S. House Ethics Committee has announced it will go no further with its investigation of Congressman John Tierney.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the bipartisan committee said “evidence was inconclusive” on whether Tierney should have disclosed the money his wife, Patrice, received from her brother in return for managing a bank account for him.

The Salem Democrat has said the money was a family gift and did not need to be disclosed under congressional rules.

Prosecutors in a 2010 case against Patrice Tierney said she received $223,000 from her brother, a figure the Tierneys have disputed.

Wednesday, the House ethics panel issued a statement saying the evidence “does not warrant a finding that Representative Tierney intentionally mischaracterized the nature of the payments for financial disclosure or tax purposes.”

The 10-member committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, voted unanimously Tuesday night to close the matter and said it will take no further action. The issue had been sent to the Ethics Committee in June by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

In a prepared statement, Tierney thanked the group for its “unbiased and expedited review.”

“After three years of politically motivated, partisan attacks on this issue, I look forward to putting it behind me,” Tierney wrote. “The focus belongs on the residents of the 6th District. I appreciate all the constituents who have stood with me during this difficult time, and I remain committed to fighting for our local families and communities.”

Tierney’s office said the congressman is setting up a fund to cover the legal expenses of the Ethics Committee’s three-month investigation, for which he is responsible.

The longstanding issue involves Patrice Tierney’s brothers, Robert and Daniel Eremian, who prosecutors say ran an illegal offshore betting business in Antigua. While her brother Robert Eremian was living out of the country, Patrice Tierney managed a bank account for him here. She wrote regular checks to herself from that account, which she characterized as gifts from her brother.

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