Ex-Trump doctor Ronny Jackson spent thousands in donor funds at swanky club, House ethics watchdog says

The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to continue a two-month-old probe into Jackson’s conduct

Andrew Feinberg
Washington DC
Monday 24 June 2024 20:51 BST
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Former US Navy doctor turned Texas congressman Ronny Jacksoon may have broken campaign finance laws by using donor funds to cover thousands of dollars worth of bills at a swanky Texas club, according to the nonpartisan House Office of Congressional Ethics.

The six-member House Ethics Committee, which is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, voted unanimously to continue a two-month-old probe into Jackson’s conduct that was touched off by allegations that his campaign committee, Texans for Ronny Jackson, had paid his personal bills at a members-only restaurant in Amarillo, Texas called the Amarillo Club.

In a press release, Chairman Michael Guest (R-Miss) and Ranking Member Susan Wild (D-Penn) said the panel was continuing to review the matter of Jackson’s alleged violations but would not make any further public comments while the investigation remains ongoing.

The announcement of the continued probe into Jackson — who in July 2022 was demoted to the rank of Captain by the Navy after a probe into his conduct while he served as the head of the White House Medical Unit and the physician to presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump — comes after the Office of Congressional Ethics said there is “substantial reason to believe” that he violated “House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law” by using funds donated to his campaign committee on personal expenses.

Donald Trump (left) shakes hands with Ronny Jackson (right) in 2018.
Donald Trump (left) shakes hands with Ronny Jackson (right) in 2018. (AFP via Getty Images)

Federal regulations specifically state that campaigns for federal office cannot pay “pay dues, fees or gratuities to a country club, health club, recreational facility or other nonpolitical organization” except when covering the costs of fundraisers held at such facilities.

Both House rules and the House Ethics Manual also proscribe using campaign funds for “dues, fees or gratuities” at country clubs or other private membership clubs.

Jackson is accused of potentially violated those rules by having his campaign pay bills at the Amarillo Club, even after OCE stated in a December 2021 referral that there was reason to believe the payments were not related to any campaign purpose.

“In the period of time since the OCE’s December 17, 2021 referral ... Rep Jackson has continued to make payments to the club undeterred,” the report said.

The OCE report also stated that Jackson’s campaign has paid membership fees totaling at least $6,839.18 at the club since October 2020, including $4,910.11 worth of payments between October 2021 and January 2024.

Jackson’s campaign committee also spent $11,928.27 during that 2020 to 2024 period for “fees, meals and other services” but the OCE was unable to determine whether any of that was legitimately campaign related because neither Jackson nor the club cooperated with the office’s investigation.

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