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U.S. Rep. Roger Williams cleared in ethics investigation

A congressional panel looking into whether U.S. Rep. Roger Williams improperly benefited from legislation he supported said its review found nothing that could lead to "a reasonable inference of improper conduct."

Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams in Dallas on Oct. 3, 2011 at the construction site of the Bush Presidential Library on the SMU campus.

The U.S. House's Ethics Committee has dropped its investigation of Rep. Roger Williams, who had been accused of improperly benefiting from legislation he backed.

In August 2016, the committee announced it would extend its review of the Austin Republican over a 2015 vote on an amendment he offered to a transportation reauthorization bill. The amendment exempted car dealerships like his from a prohibition on renting out cars that were subject to a safety recall. 

On Tuesday, the Ethics Committee announced that although the amendment "could have affected Representative Williams' personal financial interests, the totality of the circumstances surrounding Representative Williams' actions did not create a reasonable inference of improper conduct."

In a prepared statement, Williams said that the announcement shows that he was simply looking out for his constituents and that he fully cooperated with the committee.

"As I knew all along, the Committee found no violation of any law, rule or regulation. My outlook as a Member of Congress has been, and always will be, to bring sensible business solutions to solve attempted government overreach, specifically on small businesses," he said.

Still, the committee's report did seem to chide Williams for his failure to communicate with it before the vote.

"The Committee would like to emphasize its longstanding guidance that a Member who is considering introducing legislation or taking other official actions, beyond voting, that could affect the Member's personal financial interests should contact the Committee before doing so."

Williams, a former professional baseball player and Texas secretary of state, has served as a U.S. representative since 2013.

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