Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been hit with an ethics complaint just one day after launching his bid to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the U.S. Senate.
An ethics watchdog group asked the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate Schiff for using footage from the Senate floor in an ad announcing his campaign.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) sent a complaint to the OCE’s chief counsel asking for an immediate probe into whether Schiff “abused official resources for political purposes.”
“This is a clear violation of House ethics rules and federal law,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of FACT.
“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.”
A Schiff campaign spokesperson said:
“House ethics rules prohibit the use of House floor or committee footage for campaign purposes — the rules do not apply to footage from the Senate, which is what was used in Congressman Schiff’s video.
“No footage from any House proceeding was used in the video, and Congressman Schiff was fully in compliance with House ethics guidelines.”
The complaint says:
“The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.
“We request the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) immediately investigate whether Representative Adam Schiff abused official resources for political purposes.
“On January 26, 2023, Representative Schiff announced he was running for U.S. Senate. In his campaign announcement video, he uses a video of himself speaking on the Senate floor, as seen below.
“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.
“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.
“This includes any photograph or video footage of floor proceedings even it was reposted from a third party source, i.e. another website or news organization,” the complaint says.
“As the Ethics Committee has stated, Members may not re-use an image of a floor proceeding published by a third party, if the Member could not use that image in the first instance.
“In the present case, Rep. Schiff is clearly using official government video for campaign purposes in violation of federal law and the House ethics rules.”
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