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On Friday, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint requesting the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) investigate Congressman Adam Schiff of California for using official taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes. In a campaign video announcing his run for the U.S. Senate, which was shared from Rep. Schiff’s campaign Twitter account, he used footage of himself speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. Furthermore, the media recognized this as an issue as well.

House Members are prohibited from using House and Senate floor video for campaign purposes. Federal law states that “appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made except as otherwise provided by law.” To enforce this law, the ethics rules prohibit Members from using any official resource for political purposes. “Official resources” includes anything funded by taxpayers, such as a Member’s official website, social media accounts, and photographs and video from the House or Senate floor. To make it abundantly clear, both the House Ethics rules and Senate ethics rules specifically identify Congressional photographs and video of floor proceedings as official resources that Members are prohibited from using for political purposes. Furthermore, a House Member cannot evade this rule by posting floor footage obtained from a third-party, including reposting floor footage obtained from a news outlet.

“This is a clear violation of House Ethics Rules and Federal law. Rep. Schiff has been in Congress for over two decades and undoubtedly knows that official government resources cannot be used for political purposes. Rep. Schiff must immediately take down the video and cease distribution of the footage, and the Office of Congressional Ethics should move swiftly to investigate and sanction Rep. Schiff for this breach,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.

You can watch the video here.

A full copy of the complaint can be found here.

FACT is a nonprofit organization to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/

Author: Press Release


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