Watchdog Calls for Ethics Probe of Congressman Josh Gottheimer
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT Calls on House Ethics Committee to Investigate NJ Rep. for Using Congressional Resources for Political Purposes
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog group, today filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) for using his official House email account to broadcast his campaign fundraising totals; a clear violation of House ethics rules and practices.
Members of Congress are prohibited from using any official resources for campaigning or other political purposes to ensure that taxpayer funds are not used to help incumbents gain re-election. Official resources include congressional email accounts and congressional staff time.
Despite this straightforward rule, one of Representative Gottheimer’s congressional staff members used his official House email account to send a campaign related email, the content of which was solely to promote Gottheimer’s campaign fundraising totals and other information about his political race. The email also asked recipients to send campaign related questions to a House email account.
“House ethics rules prohibiting the use of official government resources for campaign related activities is meant to ensure representatives don't abuse taxpayer funds and use them for their own personal or political gain" said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. “Although Gottheimer’s office acknowledged the violation, he only did so after being called out by the media. Since we do not believe this was an inadvertent mistake, it is critical these actions be investigated further,” Arnold added.
FACT asks that Office of Congressional Ethics immediately investigate and take appropriate action in response to this violation of the House of Representatives Ethics Rules.
Last year, FACT sent a memo to congressional leaders to alert them to potential liability that may arise from ethics violations committed in several areas including the use of congressional resources for political activity.