A non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) calling for an investigation of Democrat Rep. Danny Davis (IL) for allegedly “violating the House ethics rules that forbid Members from using official taxpayer-funded resources for political purposes.”
In a press release, the group noted that Congressional members could not include any type of information linked to campaign-related accounts or websites. They are also not allowed to include anything personal, political, or campaign-related.
In their complaint sent to the ethics office, FACT included screenshots of multiple occasions where Davis is being accused of breaking the House ethics rules.
FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold said in a statement that this is not one of the rules that are hard for members to follow:
“At times, ethical rules that members of Congress have to follow are somewhat complicated — this is not one of those times. A Member simply cannot share any campaign or political related messages on their official, tax-payer provided, social media accounts. In this case, Rep. Davis has done just that and I encourage the OCE to immediately investigate and apply the appropriate sanctions,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
The complaint letter sent to the OCE further outlined the ethics rules Davis allegedly violated by using a government-funded account for campaign use:
House ethics rules require strict separation between campaign and official acts: a Member is prohibited from using official resources for campaign purposes and a Member is prohibited from using campaign funds for official purposes. Specifically, a Member’s official social media accounts may not include any personal, political, or campaign information, or links to campaign- related accounts or sites. This rule enforces an important foundational principle: Members cannot use their official position or taxpayer funded resources for political gain. Moreover, it protects the citizens’ trust in a fair and impartial government.
The letter added that it is “especially concerning when our elected officials do not follow even the most basic ethics rules,” noting that the OCE is responsible for making sure each Congressional member lives up to the public trust they have while being in office and to comply with all of the ethics standards from the House.