Group Calls For Probe Into Lobbying Firm Behind Owens' Taiwan Trip


A government watchdog group is calling for an investigation into the lobbying firm which organized a $22,000 trip to Taiwan for north country Congressman Bill Owens and his wife.

That's according to ProPublica, the political investigative website which first reported Owens may have violated House of Representative ethics rules when he took the trip.

ProPublica now reports that the group, Public Citizen, wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate the lobbying firm.

The officials requested "an investigation into whether Park Strategies broke House travel rules by organizing the trip for Owens...The letter cites a May 10 ProPublica story, co-published with Politico, that revealed the lobbyists' role in the trip."

Owens (D. -23rd District) told 7 News earlier this month that he was unsure if ethics rules were broken when he took the trip last December.

"I will tell you we did everything in good faith and we are comfortable we acted in good faith. If a mistake was make, it was done unintentionally," Owens said in a May 11 telephone interview with 7 News reporter John Moore.

Owens announced he was personally paying back money for the trip to put the matter to rest.

According to ProPublica, Park Strategies, a registered foreign agent for Taiwan, was founded by former Senator Al D'Amato of New York.

The lobbyists involved in planning the Owens trip include D'Amato; John Zagame, a former aide to the senator; and Sean King, the son of Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

Public Citizen asked the ethics office to look into whether Park Strategies played a principle role in initiating and organizing the trip and the source of the money used to pay for it.

It also wants to know whether Park Strategies violated its Lobbying Disclosure Act oath by encouraging a violation of ethics rules.

See the ProPublica report

See our earlier report

Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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