WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A House
ethics watchdog has asked a congressional
committee to look into campaign fundraising by three lawmakers
for possible links to their votes on financial reform, aides
confirmed Tuesday.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, a nonpartisan entity
set up to review allegations of misconduct, recommended the
official committee scrutiny after its own preliminary review
found substantial reason to believe a violation had occurred.

Officials with the Office of Congressional Ethics declined
to comment on letters sent Monday to Republicans Tom Price
of Georgia and John Campbell of California and Democrat Joe
Crowley of New York, notifying them that their cases were being
forwarded to the House Committee on Standards of Official
Conduct.

Committee officials were not immediately available for
comment.

The office also dismissed related cases against five other
lawmakers -- three Republicans and two Democrats -- according
to aides. An aide to one of the five, Republican Jeb Hensarling
of Texas, called the decision a "complete vindication."

The three lawmakers who now face possible action by the
House ethics committee issued statements denying any wrongdoing
and expressing confusion about the cases.

"I am perplexed by OCE's decision, as they have presented
no evidence that would suggest wrongdoing," Campbell said.

Price questioned the motive behind the office's action,
calling the recommendation a "mystery" based on "no evidence of
any wrongdoing."

A Crowley aide said the New York congressman has always
complied with "the letter and spirit" of rules on fundraising
and conduct.

The Office of Congressional Ethics launched a preliminary
probe of eight lawmakers from the House Financial Services and
tax-writing Ways and Means committees in May to determine
whether their votes on financial reform came in exchange for
campaign contributions.

The House approved its version of financial reform in a
223-202 vote in December.

Of the eight lawmakers, the three Democrats, including Earl
Pomeroy of North Dakota and Mel Watt of North Carolina,
supported the measure.

The five Republicans, including Fred Lucas of Oklahoma and
Chris Lee of New York, voted against it.
(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)