Luis Gutierrez Ethics Probe Will Continue Though Charges Are Unlikely

05/05/2014 06:06 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee says it will not appoint a special panel to investigate allegations that Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois improperly hired a Chicago lobbyist to act as a de facto staff member.

The committee's top two leaders said Monday they are not formally dismissing Gutierrez's actions but will instead continue to review the matter under their own authority. In practical terms, the decision means it is unlikely that the 11-term lawmaker from Chicago will face charges or sanctions.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics says there is substantial reason to believe Gutierrez violated federal law and House rules in hiring lobbyist Doug Scofield to work side by side with his congressional staff on a range of issues while Scofield also was representing other clients.