Maurice Jones, Virginia's current Secretary of Commerce is the focus of a recently completed investigation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
This story was initially reported by the Washington Times.
Jones served as the Deputy Secretary at HUD before accepting Gov. Terry McAuliffe's appointment as Commerce Secretary. Prior to his HUD appointment, Jones was the publisher of the Virginian Pilot.
The investigation, which was prompted by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) concluded that Jones and four others improperly lobbied Congress.
NBC12 has obtained a copy of the full report which you can see here.
The lengthy summary concludes outlines the specifics findings of the report. In addition to the discovery of improper lobbying, the report also claims that the then Acting General Deputy Assistant Secretary Elliot M. Mincberg told the Inspector General that he "coordinated with White House Counsel'" on his attempts to disrupt the IG's investigation. (Pg 19 of the report)
The HUD Inspector General will appear before the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing. It is expected more details of the report will be revealed there.
The IG report says they have referred their report to a special counsel that oversees federal officials political activity. According to the Washington Times story, the Justice Department has declined to seek criminal charges, but the Government Accountability Office is conducting a review.
In a statement provided to NBC12, Secretary Jones said he regrets the appearance of his role in the inquiry.
"The email in question was drafted and sent in consultation with Department counsel and congressional affairs personnel and reflected their best advice to me at the time," Jones wrote. "I would never intentionally violate the laws, policies or codes of conduct that govern public officials, and I regret that this email has raised even the appearance of any impropriety."
Jones said he has not seen the full report and said the e-mail in question was not one he personally wrote, but did approve.
The report reflects that Jones told investigators that he was under the impression that lobbying in that fashion was within his rights as Deputy Secretary.