House Ethics Committee expands investigation of Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick
The Miramar Democrat said she is cooperating with the investigation.

The House Ethics Committee is expanding an investigation of U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick.

The news comes months after the House committee announced it would investigate whether the Congresswoman violated campaign finance laws in 2022.

Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest, a Mississippi Republican, and Ranking Member Susan Wild, a Pennsylvania Democrat, announced that the Ethics Committee had voted to expand the jurisdiction of an Investigative Subcommittee based on a new referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.

“Specifically, the ISC’s inquiry was expanded to include: Whether Representative Cherfilus-McCormick violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other standard of conduct applicable to the performance of her duties or the discharge of her responsibilities, with respect to allegations that Representative Cherfilus-McCormick: (1) engaged in improper conduct in connection with community project funding requests; (2) misused official funds for campaign purposes; and/or (3) violated campaign finance laws and regulations in connection with her 2024 re-election campaign.”

Cherfilus-McCormick downplayed the significance of the investigation’s expansion.

“Expanding the scope of the inquiry by itself does not indicate that any violation has occurred or reflect any judgement or decision by the Committee,” reads a statement provided by Clara Bernice, Communications Director for Cherfilus-McCormick’s House Office.

“The Congresswoman continues to take this matter very seriously and intends to cooperate with the House Ethics Committee and its investigative subcommittee to address the allegations that have been raised. To respect the Ethics Committee’s process, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Cherfilus-McCormick won election to Congress in a 2022 Special Election to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, securing the Democratic nomination by a scant five votes over then-Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. She won re-election later the same year more decisively in an August Primary, and went on to beat Republican Drew Montez-Clark.

She largely self-funded both her campaigns in 2022. At the time, questions arose how Cherfilus-McCormick, a health care executive, was able to lend her campaign millions to win her first election.

An examination of Cherfilus-McCormick’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings shows her campaign bookkeeping is arousing the federal government’s concern. After blowing two deadlines for addressing FEC concerns around accurate reporting, her July 2022 report showed her campaign used $400,000 to pay back a loan from Truist Bank, by far the largest of the $766,856 in second-quarter expenses the campaign reported.

This election cycle, she won re-election unopposed despite rumors former 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell would enter the race. She was the only member of Florida’s congressional delegation to secure her next term without facing an opponent.

As of the end of March, Cherfilus-McCormick’s campaign reported it still had more than $3.7 million in debt.

But she has remained under the crosshairs of the House Ethics Committee the entire time.

The committee was already investigating whether she failed to properly disclose required information on statements required to be filed with the House and whether she wrongly accepted voluntary service for official work from an individual not employed in her congressional office.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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