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Roskam: No rules violated on Taiwan trip

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 9:35 a.m. CDT
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam speaks Monday during the opening celebrations of The Residences of Lake in the Hills, a rental community for independent seniors.

LAKE IN THE HILLS – While in McHenry County on Monday to celebrate the opening of an affordable senior housing community, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., said he fully expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing regarding a trip he took to Taiwan in 2011.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating a claim made by the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog agency, that Roskam’s trip was improperly funded by the Taiwanese government.

Citing the fact that the Ethics Committee approved the trip before he and his wife left for Taiwan, and the fact that the Office of Congressional Ethics hasn’t unearthed any new information that wasn’t initially vetted by the Ethics Committee, Roskam said he anticipates the investigation will prove no rules were violated.

“Politics is an arena where you expect a high level of scrutiny, so it’s not a surprise,” Roskam told the Northwest Herald after Monday’s opening. “I’ve been pleased to completely cooperate [with the Ethics Committee]. We’ve released all the information in order to get everything out there, so there’s no surprises. We followed all the rules, all the regulations, and I’m sure anybody that looks at it completely will come to the same conclusion.”

In October 2011, Roskam and his wife visited Taiwan on an officially connected fact-finding trip to learn about Taiwanese culture as well as economic and security ties between the U.S. and Taiwan. Roskam’s daughter also was teaching in Taiwan at the time.

The eight-day trip cost more than $25,000, according to the Office of Congressional Ethics. The majority of the cost was related to travel to and within Taiwan, Roskam spokeswoman Stephanie Gengo said.

The Office of Congressional Ethics alleged the Taiwan trip may have been an impermissible gift because of the involvement with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, which is the de facto Taiwanese Embassy.

Roskam and his representatives said the Chinese Cultural University in Taipei sponsored the trip and is an appropriate private sponsor. Roskam’s camp also said the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office was a necessary and expected liaison for the trip, and the involvement was disclosed to the Ethics Committee before the trip.

The Ethics Committee will announce its course of action by Sept. 11, at which point Roskam believes he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

“That’s my hope and my expectation,” he said.

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