FACT Files OCE Complaint Against Congressman Lewis & His Chief of Staff
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
Today, FACT filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) and his Chief of Staff, Michael Collins. The complaint cites Congressman Lewis for improperly allowing Mr. Collins to simultaneously act as his campaign treasurer and chief of staff.
According to the complaint, “House Ethics rules impose significant limitations on outside employment” for congressional staff, including prohibiting senior staff employees from “paid board service, including serving on ‘campaign organizations.’” Additionally, even in the limited instances where outside employment is allowed, the amount that can be earned is capped at $27,255. In this case, Collins was earning $27,495 as Lewis’ campaign treasurer, a prohibited salary for a prohibited position.
“What’s most concerning about this case is this is not Mr. Collins’ first ethical lapse in this area,” said Matthew Whitaker, Executive Director, and Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. “Carelessness is not an excuse for violating what is a very crystal clear rule that exists to ensure that a public official is not using his or her office for personal and financial gain,” Whitaker added.
According to published reports, Mr. Collins was sanctioned by the House Ethics Committee in 2011 “for failing to disclose or pay taxes on $54,000 in outside income for work on Lewis’ campaigns.” For Congressman Lewis’ part, the complaint says he is also in violation of House ethics rules because he allowed Collins to work on his campaign in such a prohibitive fashion.
A full copy of the complaint to can be read here.
Read FACT's press release in full here.
Read the coverage of FACT's complaint in the Washington Free Beacon here.