What are Legal Expense Funds?
Legal expense funds are established to assist Members when: “the legal expenses
arise in connection with: the individual's candidacy for or election to federal
office; the individual's official duties or position in Congress (including legal
expenses incurred in connection with an amicus brief file in a Member's official
capacity, a civil action by a Member challenging the validity of a law or federal
regulation, or a matter before the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct);
a criminal prosecution; or a civil matter bearing on the individual's reputation
or fitness for office.” –Memorandum to Members from the House Committee
on Standards of Official Conduct, June 10, 1996
A legal expense fund is set up as a trust and is administered by an independent trustee who oversees fundraising. Trust funds and quarterly reports of trust funds approved by the Committee on Ethics are filed with the Clerk one week after approval by the committee, for the current Congress and the previous two Congresses.
Public disclosure documents filed with the Clerk are available from: