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U.S. House Committee on Ethics to investigate Laredo Rep. Henry Cuellar

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) speaks during a press conference about The US-Mexico Border in July 2021.
Lenin Nolly
Congressman Henry Cuellar speaks during a press conference about the U.S.-Mexico border in July 2021.

Embattled South Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar became the subject of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee on Wednesday.

Cuellar and his wife, Imelda, were indicted by the Department of Justice earlier this month for bribery, money laundering, and conspiracy.

They allegedly accepted $600,000 in bribes from a Mexican bank and an oil and gas company owned by the Azerbaijan government.

The House panel announced in a statement Wednesday that it had unanimously voted to establish an investigative subcommittee to determine whether Cuellar solicited or accepted bribes or improper gifts, acted as a foreign agent, or misused his official position for private gain.

The Democratic congressman is alleged to have accepted bribes to advance the interests of Azerbaijan, according to the Department of Justice. His wife Imelda faced similar indictments.

Under House rules, the committee can decide whether or not to open an investigation within 30 days of a member being indicted or otherwise formally charged with criminal conduct.

"The Committee is aware of the risks associated with dual investigation and is in communication with the Department of Justice to mitigate the potential risks while still meeting the Committee's obligations to safeguard the integrity of the House," the Committee said in a statement.

Mississippi Republican Rep. Michael Guest will serve as the chair of the investigative subcommittee. Democratic Rep. Glenn Ivey of Maryland will be the ranking member.

The House Ethics Committee said it would make no more public comments about the investigation, in accordance with committee rules.

Cuellar and his wife have denied any wrongdoing. Cuellar will continue to seek re-election this November.

He is set to face veteran Jay Furman for the 28th Congressional District seat, which runs from the eastern outskirts of San Antonio to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Cuellars' next scheduled court day is in July, with a trial expected to begin in late March 2025.

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