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TIMELINE: Meadows and West

Here is a timeline of the employment of Kenny West, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows from January 2013 to April 2015. The Office of Congressional Ethics sent a referral to the House Ethics Committee recommending that it further review West’s employment and compensation after Meadows removed him from working in the Washington and Hendersonville offices in October 2014.

January 2013: Kenny West, one of eight candidates who ran for the Republican nomination for the open 11th Congressional District seat in May 2012, hired as chief of staff for Meadows at $155,000 a year.
Nov. 1, 2013: Meadows raises West’s salary to $167,000.
Jan. 1, 2014: Meadows lowers West’s salary to $155,000.
Oct. 1, 2014: Meadows raises West’s salary to $168,411.
October 2014: A group of employees in Meadows’ Washington office reported to the then-deputy chief of staff that they “were uncomfortable with Mr. West’s inappropriate behavior toward them.” One witness said the group made the complaints in writing.
October 2014: Witness C, a staff member in the Hendersonville district office, in the course of a performance evaluation conducted by Deputy Chief of Staff Wayne King reported “uncomfortable interactions” with West. The next day, when West appeared at the Hendersonville office, district office manager Pamela Ward “asked Mr. West to leave the office and not return again. An argument between Mr. West and Ms. Ward ensued. After Mr. West left that day, witness C never saw Kenny West again in the district office.”
November or December 2014: After being made aware of the complaints, Meadows asked the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy “to interview his female employees about their interactions with Kenny West and to report back to him. Witness B’s belief was that Rep. Meadows planned the interviews so that he could assess the legal and personnel ramifications of Mr. West’s interactions with his employees.”
January 2015: Meadows had a conversation with the staff in which he said he did not want anyone in the office to feel uncomfortable and promised “to take care of it,” Witness A, a staff member in the Washington office, told investigators. After Rep. Gowdy’s chief of staff interviewed the female staffers, West “never came back” to the D.C. office, Witness B told the OCE. From that point on, witnesses said, West did not return to work at either the D.C. or the Hendersonville office.
Late 2014: Although he was no longer working in the office, West sent emails or made calls to the D.C. office on a sporadic basis, sometimes saying, “I’m going to be up there soon.” Although West was not present in the office and Meadows had told staffers West would not be returning, the ongoing communication through calls and emails led Witness B “to believe that Mr. West was still chief of staff and that Rep. Meadows had not terminated Mr. West’s employment.”
Jan. 1, 2015: Meadows lowers West’s salary to $157,400. A month later, Meadows lowers the salary again, to $155,000.
January 2015: Witness B emailed Rep. Gowdy’s chief of staff to report West’s continued communications with the congressional office. “That week,” the witness told the OCE, Meadows “was very upset” after someone approached him on the House floor and told him that he needed to terminate West’s employment. “At that point, Rep. Meadows knew Rep. Gowdy’s chief of staff had been contacted again, this time without his knowledge.” Later that month, Meadows remarked to his deputy chief of staff that “Kenny’s not allowed back into the office so it’s not a problem.” In the first quarter of 2015, West sent emails “showing some degree of official work despite Mr. West’s continued absence.” As late as March 2015, West took part in staff salary discussions with Meadows for at least one employee.
April 2015: Meadows informed his staff that West was no longer chief of staff. “Significantly, witnesses also explained to the OCE that they believed Mr. West was no longer employed by Rep. Meadows.”
April 1, 2015: Meadows sent an email to his staff announcing the departure of deputy chief of staff Phillip Newman (who took a job in a Senate office) and that he would also be “interviewing candidates to replace Kenny as our chief of staff.”
April 9, 2015: Meadows submitted a payroll authorization form showing West’s title change, to senior adviser, (effective April 1) with the same annual salary he drew as chief of staff: $155,000.
April 1-Aug. 14, 2015: Meadows continued to pay West as a House employee. In a letter he sent to OCE through his attorney, Meadows said that he and West came to an agreement that West would “resign fulltime duties from my office towards the end of May 2015 and that I would continue to pay him for a short period of time both for the sake of a smooth transition, and so he would continue to perform some special duties for me during the transition. Kenny did perform some services and was paid through August 2015.” Although the OCE asked both Meadows and West for details that would establish “whether or not Mr. West performed official work” from April through August, both “refused to cooperate with the OCE’s review.”
Sept. 3, 2015: In a story under the headline “Meadows cut check for false mileage reimbursement,” Politico reported on West’s employment with Meadows’ office. In the story, Meadows communications director, Alyssa Farah, said that West received “vacation and severance pay until August 15.” In his letter to the Ethics Committee, Meadows also described the payments to West as “severance pay.”
November 2015: Meadows “self-reported” the Kenny West pay matter to the House Ethics Committee, asking the committee to investigate the matter.
March 18, 2016: OCE sent a “referral” to the House Ethics Committee, recommending that the committee further review the allegation that Meadows paid West for work he didn’t do.
May 10, 2016: Meadows attorney Elliot S. Berke, in a letter to the Ethics Committee, asserted that Meadows had hoped to bypass the OCE’s “duplicative, costly and burdensome process” and have the committee itself conduct the investigation.
Aug. 17: House Ethics Committee published the OCE’s Report and Findings. Chair Charles W. Dent and ranking member Linda T. Sanchez announced that the committee would review the OCE report, noting that that step “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.”

Sources: Office of Congressional Ethics; letter from attorney Elliot Berke, attorney for Rep. Meadows; statement of the House Ethics Committee.