Watchdog Asks for Ethics Probe of U.S. Representative Ruben Kihuen
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT Calls on the Office of Congressional Ethics to Investigate Nevada Congressman for Misuse of House Resources for Political Purposes
(Washington, D.C.) – November 7, 2017 – The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint this week with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Representative Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) for violating multiple House ethics rules. FACT’s complaint maintains that Congressman Kihuen is using official government acts and resources to promote his re-election campaign.
According to the complaint, Representative Kihuen is using his co-sponsorship of legislation in Congress to improperly fundraise. For example, Kihuen sent a fundraising email where he stated he is “co-sponsoring the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act” and proceeds to advocate for the bill. He then directly requests a donation: “[W]e can make progress if we work hard enough for it. That’s why we’re asking: will you rush a donation to our campaign so Ruben can keep fighting . . . .” House ethics rules explicitly states that Members cannot use “an action taken or to be taken by a Member of employee in his or her official capacity” to solicit campaign contributions.
“The public expects their Members of Congress to act in good faith, which includes voting on legislation based on the merits of the bill, and not whether it benefits them politically,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). “Using legislation to solicit campaign donations not only reflects poorly on Congressman Kihuen’s judgment as a fair and independent legislator, but also indicates a disregard for the stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”
Additionally, the complaint notes that prominently featured on Kihuen’s campaign website are postings from his official House Facebook account, along with a contribute link on the same page. To ensure that taxpayer funds are not being used to pay for partisan political activities, House Ethics rules also state that Members of Congress cannot use any official resource, including their official constituent facing website and social media accounts, for campaign or political purposes of any kind.
FACT urges the Office of Congressional Ethics to immediately investigate and take appropriate action in response to these blatant violations of the House Ethics Rules and the Official Code of Conduct.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/.