New questions about Jody Hice arise in Paul Broun criminal investigation

A criminal investigation into misuse of taxpayer money in the congressional office of former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun also now includes questions about Broun’s successor, Rep. Jody Hice, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

A federal grand jury in Macon has been meeting for months to hear allegations that Broun’s office illegally used $43,000 in federal funds to pay a Washington political consultant to work on both his Senate campaign, and an earlier re-election campaign to the House in 2012.

A person who has been interviewed by investigators told the AJC that investigators asked about ties between Broun’s 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate and Hice’s 2014 campaign for Broun’s House seat — which could involve improper use of taxpayer funds or violate Federal Election Commission regulations.

In interviews or statements to the AJC, both Broun and Hice strongly denied any improper conduct in their respective campaigns. And because grand juries meet in secret it’s impossible to know what charges, if any, investigators are pursuing, or how seriously.

But the questions about Hice are the first indication that what began as an ethics probe into Broun’s use of federal money last year has evolved into a broader inquiry.

You can read the full story here on our premium site, including the possible legal ramifications for Hice and Broun, comments from Broun and the extensive ties between the two campaigns.

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