Group Files Ethics Complaint Against House Dems for Gun Control Sit-In

By Kenrya Rankin Jun 29, 2016

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which USA Today describes as a “conservative-leaning ethics watchdog group,” was not pleased with House Democrats’ sit-in last week.

On Monday (June 27), the group filed a complaint with the House of Representative’s Office of Congressional Ethics. USA Today reports that the complaint alleges that some of the legislators who sat on the floor of the House in an attempt to force a vote on gun control violated the body’s ethics rules.

From the organization’s statement on the filing:

Today, FACT filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics for what appears to be a clear ethical violation—representatives fundraising based upon official actions they took as House members. The ethics rules prevent representatives from soliciting campaign or political contributions that are tied to any actions they take in their official capacity. This rule ensures that representatives act in good faith and on merit, and not for personal or political gain. Yet, last week representatives sent fundraising emails while on the House Floor that discussed the sit-in they were staging and asked for campaign contributions.

The complaint specifically names Representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif), John Lewis (D-Ga), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). It alleges that the named parties attempted to raise funds around a specific piece of legislation and used House resources, including photos of the protest, to further a political agenda. It goes on to cite the House Ethics Manual:

The House buildings, and House rooms and offices—including district offices—are supported with official funds and hence are considered official resources. Accordingly, as a general rule, they may not be used for the conduct of campaign or political activities. Thus, for example, a Member may not film a campaign commercial or have campaign photos taken in a congressional office.

Huffman, Lujan and the DCCC are accused of sending inappropriate emails, which are attached to the complaint, while Lewis and Pelosi are cited for signing them.

Per the Office of Congressional Ethics’ online submission form, “submission of information does not automatically result in an investigation.”

House Dems have vowed to resume the fight for new gun control legislation after the July 4 holiday.