An ethics watchdog told Breitbart News they would be “looking into” Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) after she admitted to vacationing when proxy voting last month on “historic” legislation, despite telling the Clerk of the House that it was due to the “ongoing public health emergency.”
The Executive Director for the nonpartisan ethics watchdog Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), Kendra Arnold, told Breitbart News, “Anytime a House Member makes false statements to the Clerk and the American people, it is gravely concerning.”
Iowa’s WHO-DM ran a segment on Sunday that included a clip of Axne saying that she was on a “planned” vacation with her family when she claimed to be “unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency” in a signed letter sent to the Clerk of the House on August 12, ultimately showing that the congresswoman was lying.
“This is a willful abuse of the system and dishonest,” FACT’s executive director continued. “If a House Member is not present to vote due to a vacation, it is not an option to submit false statements to the Clerk. FACT will be looking into filing an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics.”
As previously reported, Axne sent a letter to the Clerk to grant authority to her Democrat ally, Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), to cast her vote by proxy and pass the $700 billion “Inflation Reduction” Act passed by a 13-vote margin–220 to 207.
Fox News reported that pictures show the congresswoman was allegedly vacationing in Europe around the same time she proxy voted. Iowa’s lone Democrat congresswoman, who is up for reelection this year, appeared in pictures on Instagram on her son’s account.
The pictures were shared on Instagram on August 11, captioned “France Pt. 1.” They showed Axne standing alongside her husband and son, according to the media outlet, noting that the picture was “apparently removed … after Fox News Digital inquired about the trip.”
Following the passage of that piece of legislation, Axne’s official Twitter account, operated at taxpayer expense, read, “PASSED! I just voted YES on the #InflationReductionAct — a historic bill to lower health care costs, cut prescription drug prices, lower the cost of energy, and much more.”
Members are allowed to proxy vote, which means that one member of the House can cast a vote on behalf of an absent member, starting in 2020. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has extended proxy voting multiple times, with the current extension going until November 10, after the midterm election.
Each time, Pelosi has cited the “public health emergency” due to coronavirus. However, there has been controversy surrounding the ability to proxy vote. Some insiders believe it is a way for the speaker to allow vulnerable members to campaign, while others call proxy voting unconstitutional.
Last week, the House Republican leaders unveiled to GOP members at a conference meeting the party’s new “Commitment to America” plan, a core group of policies designed to help them and their candidates effectively communicate the GOP’s vision in the midterm elections.
The last section of the policy agenda says that the GOP would end the use of proxy voting for members of Congress, in addition to pushing for election integrity measures, including voter ID and poll watchers.