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Members of Congress seek reversal of Hansen conviction

More than 100 members of Congress asked a federal appeals court Monday to reverse the conviction of Rep. George Hansen (R) of Idaho, contending his financial disclosure violations were not a criminal offense. Mr. Hansen last April became the first person ever convicted of violating a 1978 ethics law. He was sentenced to 5 to 15 months in prison and fined $40,000 by a federal judge, and was reprimanded by the House in July.

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The lawmakers, in a friend-of-the-court brief, said Congress never meant to impose criminal penalties for those violating disclosure requirements of the Ethics in Government Act.