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Ethics Panel Steps Up Inquiry of Kentucky Rep. Whitfield

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee is forming an investigative subcommittee to determine whether Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky violated House rules by allowing his wife to lobby staff members on issues related to her work with the Humane Society of the United States.

The committee will investigate allegations that Whitfield improperly used his official position to benefit himself, his wife or the Humane Society.

Whitfield, in his 11th term, has called the allegations politically motivated by opponents of his work on legislation to regulate the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. Whitfield's wife, Constance Harriman Whitfield, is a lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund and worked with her husband on the bill.

Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant of Texas will chair the four-member investigative panel.