Nonpartisan ethics watchdog Americans for Public Trust (APT) filed a complaint against House Judiciary Committee Democrat Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) on Thursday, contending that the Georgia Democrat allegedly violated federal election law and House ethics rules by coordinating with the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Before being elected to Congress, Lucy McBath was the spokesperson for the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. Michael Bloomberg, a Wall Street billionaire, gun control advocate, and Democrat presidential candidate co-founded Everytown for Gun Safety.
APT filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) calling for investigations into whether McBath “prohibited, excessive, and unreported in-kind corporate contributions” in violation of federal election law.
The ethics complaint alleged:
- McBath filed her candidacy in March 2018; however, she continued to receive a salary from Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund weeks after. CNN interviewed McBath in March as both as a representative of Everytown and a “national spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety.”
- McBath uploaded her first campaign ad to YouTube in April 2018. APT contended that “it is not publicly known what level of involvement Everytown had in the creation or paid promotion of this video.”
- In April 2018, the same month as McBath’s departure from Everytown, the gun control endorsed the Georgia Democrat for office and committed to over $200,000 in digital ads and mailers to support her campaign.
- After McBath won the July 2018 primary runoff, Everytown said that the group’s Action Fund worked “to elevate McBath’s candidacy” and spent more than $1.2 million on digital, radio, and television ads.
- After the 2018 midterm elections, Everytown issued a press release detailing that the Victory Fund “ran independent expenditures of more than $3 million in the general election.”
- Over the 2018 election cycle, Everytown said they spent in total over “$5 million on advocacy expenditures. Representative McBath was the single largest beneficiary of Everytown’s spending, accounting for over 80 percent of Everytown’s advocacy expenditures.”
APT emphasized that while McBath was still serving as the national spokeswoman for Everytown, the gun control group “began spending in the election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district.”
“It is not publicly known what level of involvement Representative McBath had in Everytown’s expenditures against her eventual general election opponent while she was still employed by Everytown,’ APT added in the FEC complaint.
APT contended that it is “highly implausible that Representative McBath did not engage in substantial discussion regarding her election,” given that she was the organization’s spokesperson and that Everytown strongly backed her campaign for Congress.”
In summary, the APT complaint says that Everytown’s alleged coordination with the Georgia Democrat amounts to a “prohibited” contribution to McBath’s 2018 congressional campaign.
Adam Laxalt, an outside counsel for APT, told Breitbart News in an interview that APT’s investigation raises serious questions over when Bloomberg and Everytown knew when McBath was planning to run for office and if there was any coordination between the gun control group and McBath’s campaign.
During a speech in December 2019, Bloomberg touted his work to elect McBath to Congress through their mutual work at Everytown for Gun Safety.
Laxalt said, “I hope that there a lot of questions that will be answered by our ethics complaint and the questions that the media should be asking which is: who knew, what, and when? Michael Bloomberg bragged in December about getting to know Represetntiave McBath through Everytown and that he got her elected. Michael Bloomberg, what did he know? Was he in communication with her throughout her campaign with Everytown, and was Everytown in communication with her, there’s just so many questions.”
“I think Bloomberg has some questions to answer, Everytown does, and McBath does as well. Did she bring over information about this district? Did she know the voter score and the polling and the weaknesses of her potential opponent? Was all that paid for by Everytown and was Everytown able to access it in her campaign, and that kind of information costs federal campaigns several thousand dollars,” he added.
“It certainly seems like there was a lot of coordination there,” Laxalt said of the connection between McBath’s campaign for Congress and Everytown’s strong support for McBath.
The outside counsel for APT remarked that he does not know of another situation where a spokesperson “left a $100 million-plus outside [political] group and then ran within weeks of leaving, and then that group spends millions in that one particular race.”
The ethics complaint against McBath follows as New York Times columnist Charles Blow accused the Georgia Democrat of being bought for endorsing Bloomberg for president.
“There’s been some backscratching here,” Laxalt said of the relationship between Bloomberg and McBath.
Laxalt contended that McBath, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, should be held to a higher ethical standard and that he hopes the OCE and the FEC investigate the claims against the Georgia Democrat.
“I think you have three members of the coveted Judiciary committee and the Judiciary Committee is entrusted with overseeing our law enforcement, and from what we can tell and from what is being alleged, there’s been some serious violations of law here, and we’re hoping that the FEC and the Ethics Committee look into these matters,” Laxalt said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.