The U.S. House Ethics Committee revealed this week that it is continuing an investigation of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), focusing on Better Government Association/Chicago Sun-Times disclosures that his campaign committee had received free office space for years.

The unpaid rent for space at the Lake Meadows Shopping Center, 3361 S. Martin Luther King Drive, was worth $365,040 over 20 years, according to an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE.

The House Ethics Committee is considering whether to discipline Rush, following a referral from OCE, which looked at the matter and said there was “substantial reason” to believe his acceptance of free rent was “in violation of Illinois state law, House rules, and federal law” and that it represented “impermissible gifts or special favors in violation of House rules and standards of conduct.”

The OCE report, made public Monday, quotes its interview with Rush, who said he never paid rent and was never asked to pay rent, but “that he believed his presence in the space served some ‘benefit’ to the landlord because his ‘name was on the door.’”

OCE also investigated $71,000 in campaign donations since 2007 from Rush’s campaign fund to the South Side church where Rush serves as pastor, but did not recommend any further inquiry. Campaign donations to nonprofits do not violate campaign rules as long as a congressman and family members are not personally profiting. The report noted that neither Rush nor his family were paid employees during the period of time that the church received campaign funds. Rush has never been paid by his church.

In a press release, the House Ethics Committee indicated the OCE report is under review, and the committee will continue to gather information. No deadline has been set for the committee to take action or complete its investigation.

The House Ethics Committee can issue public letters of reproval or admonishment to members. The committee can also ask the full House to censure or in extremely rare cases expel a member. And the committee can also decline to take any disciplinary action.

The press release notes “the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

The BGA wrote a two-part series on Rush that was published in the Sun-Times last December.

READ MORE: A Rush Of Financial Questions

A months-long BGA/Chicago Sun-Times investigation of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is raising serious questions about his personal and professional finances — and whose interests are really being served by him in Congress.

Among the BGA’s findings: A nonprofit founded by Rush was given $1 million to create a “technology center” for a troubled South Side neighborhood. The project never happened, and it’s unclear what happened to the money.

This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Chuck Neubauer and Sandy Bergo. They can be at or or at (312) 427-8330.

A Chicago native, Sandy Bergo began her professional career as a reporter for the Chicago Reporter, worked as a writer and producer for WBBM Radio, and for 20 years, was a producer with Pam Zekman’s investigative team at WBBM-TV.

She has shared in local and national awards for her work. Her stories have exposed bad doctors, campaign finance irregularities and government waste of taxpayers’ money.

In 2001, Sandy moved with her husband, Chuck Neubauer, to Washington D.C., where she worked as a freelance reporter, television producer and a staff writer for the Center for Public Integrity.

For 10 years until 2019, she was the executive director of The Fund for Investigative Journalism.

During that time, she collaborated with her husband on investigative stories for the Better Government Association.

Sandy and Chuck have one son and two grandsons.

Chuck Neubauer is an award-winning investigative reporter who has a five-decade track record of breaking high-impact stories about public officials, from Chicago City Council members to powerful members of Congress.

He is currently based in Washington, D.C. after years of working in Chicago as an investigative reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and earlier for the Chicago Tribune where he shared in a Pulitzer Prize with the late George Bliss for a series on abuses in federal housing programs.

He and his wife, Sandy Bergo, have spent the last 10 years doing freelance investigative stories as special contributors for the Illinois Answers Project and the Better Government Association. Their reporting has looked into the actions of politicians ranging from Ald. Edward M. Burke to former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan to former Rep. Bobby Rush to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. They have also reported on how leaders of the Illinois legislature skirted campaign finance limits and also on the generous pensions some Illinois lawmakers receive.

At the Sun-Times, Neubauer, along with Mark Brown and Michael Briggs, reported in the 1990s that powerful House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal taxpayer funds to purchase three personal cars, buy expensive gifts for friends and hire staffers who did personal work for him. Those disclosures were the basis for several counts in the federal indictment against Rostenkowski who pleaded guilty and served 17 months in prison.

Neubauer’s reporting also helped lead to federal criminal charges and convictions of former Illinois Governor Dan Walker, Illinois Attorney General William J. Scott and former Illinois State Treasurer Jerry Cosentino.

In 2001, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the Los Angeles Times and later the Washington Times, exposing conflicts of interests involving Senate and House leaders.

Neubauer began his career as the BGA’s first intern in 1971 before becoming a reporter.