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Report: Va commerce secretary broke lobbying rule

Tuesday - 2/25/2014, 1:13pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A new report finds that Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones appears to have broken a law that prohibits federal agencies from lobbying Congress.

Jones was deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last year when emails were sent on his behalf to 1,000 recipients. A draft report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Inspector General says the emails asked recipients to contact several U.S. senators and encourage them to vote in favor of a budget bill.

Federal investigators found the emails violated the department's internal policy and appear to violate a federal anti-lobbying law.

According to the report, Jones told investigators he was unaware his actions may have been improper.

The Washington Times first reported the investigation.

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