The chair and ranking member of the House Committee on Ethics just released a statement, which appears in full below, announcing they have jointly decided to extend “the matter” regarding Rep. Bill Owwens, and will announce its course of action on Jan. 28.

Other than the usual boilerplate about how the “mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred,” there’s not a lot in the way of details here.

Owens, a North Country Democrat who just won a surprisingly easy victory in his GOP-dominated district against Matt Doheny, was on the hot seat back in May when Pro Publica reported that lobbyists from Park Strategies, the firm founded by former US Sen. Al D’Amato, had organized a luxury trip to Taiwan in late 2010 for Owens and his wife, Jane.

A rule passed by Congress after the Jack Abramoff influence peddling scandal bans lawmakers and their staff from participating in “officially-connected travel that is in any way planned, organized, requested, or arranged by a lobbyist.”

Both Park Strategies and Owens initially said they believed the trip had complied with this rule – Owens filed a travel disclosure with the House Ethics Committee that identified the trip’s sponsor as the Culture University.

But the congressman later announced he would pay out of pocket to reimburse the university for the cost of his jaunt, which ended up totaling $22,132, thanks to $520 daily hotel bills, $360 daily meals for two and first-class plane tickets.

Doheny made an issue of the Taiwan trip during the campaign, highlighting the trip in an attack ad.

Owens has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong in connection with this trip, but he did order ethics training for his staffers after the story broke.

A government watchdog group, Public Citizen, called for the House Ethics Committee to investigate Owens’ Taiwan trip in the wake of the Pro Publica story. It looks like the committee may have heeded that call.

20121214 Statement of the Chairman and Ranking Member Regarding the Matter of Rep. Owens