The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog, sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asking for an investigation into Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for allegedly violating federal law and House ethics rules by using taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes.
The ethics watchdog said in the complaint that the congressman was “clearly using official government video for campaign purposes,” violating federal law and the House ethics rules, since “House Members are prohibited from using House and Senate floor video for campaign purposes.”
FACT explained the Federal laws and House ethics rules that require there to be a strict divide between campaign and official acts:
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 campaign or 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 rules specifically identify Congressional video of floor proceedings as official resources that Members are prohibited from using for political purposes.
The FACT complaint explained that Schiff “abused official resources” when he used a video of himself speaking on the Senate floor during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment as part of his Senate announcement on Thursday. Schiff shared the campaign video on his campaign Twitter account as part of his announcement:
Our democracy is at great risk. Because GOP leaders care more about power than anything else.
And because our economy isn’t working for millions of hard working Americans.
We’re in the fight of our lives—a fight I’m ready to lead as California’s next U.S. Senator. pic.twitter.com/H0Pa0EhhMu
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) January 26, 2023
“Simply put, under the House ethics rules, a Member is prohibited from using either House or Senate photographs or video because both are official government resources,” the complaint stated. “The law is clear and the image above speaks for itself—there are no facts that can excuse this violation.”
“This is an important rule because it not only protects taxpayer-funded resources from abuse, but it also protects the integrity of official proceedings by reducing the incentive for Members to make political speeches during official proceedings,” the complaint continued.
Ultimately, the complaint wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to “immediately” establish an investigation to see if the congressman used official resources for campaign purposes in violation of the House ethics rules.
FACT’s Executive Director, Kendra Arnold, slammed the congressman in a statement, saying, “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,” Arnold added.
As Breitbart reported on Thursday, Schiff announced he would run for California’s U.S. Senate seat in 2024 and join what is shaping up to be a crowded primary for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) seat, who has yet to make her final decision on whether to run.
The announcement video Schiff used, which FACT referred to in its ethics complaint, makes it appear that the congressman is going to focus a portion of his campaign on hyping himself as an impeachment manager during Trump’s impeachment and the “attacks” he has received from “MAGA extremists.”
Earlier in the week, before his announcement, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blocked his appointment to the Intelligence Committee, a promise the speaker made before he became speaker. McCarthy, in December 2021, told Breitbart News’s Washington Bureau Chief, Matthew Boyle, during an exclusive long-form interview that Schiff “knowingly… used a fake dossier” to lie to the American people.