Ethics Watchdog Calls for Investigation of Bill Nelson
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT Says Florida Senator Violated Senate Ethics Rules by Leaking Potentially Classified and False Information for Political Purposes
(Washington, D.C.) – August 23, 2018 –The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), today, filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). FACT’s complaint maintains that Senator Nelson either improperly disclosed classified information or disseminated false information about alleged Russian meddling in Florida’s elections. Either charge is a violation of Senate Ethics rules.
According to multiple press reports, Senator Nelson recently made claims that voting machines throughout Florida were currently compromised as a result of Russian meddling. While this outrageous claim has not been factually supported, nevertheless they were very serious allegations which would have involved leaking classified information, something Senator Nelson admitted. This, in turn, triggered a multiple government agency response.
FACT’s complaint notes that “Senate rules and Federal law prohibits Members from publicly disclosing classified information.” Furthermore, the complaint notes that “if Nelson’s statements are false, he disseminated false information on an issue of serious public concern with the authority of the Senate simply for political purposes.”
“As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bill Nelson has a very serious responsibility in ensuring that classified information is handled appropriately so as to safeguard our nation. It’s clear from this case that he willfully neglected this responsibility,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). “We are asking the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate this very serious matter because leaking classified information and lying to incite fear in the public and advance one’s political career can never be tolerated. That in itself is election meddling,” Arnold added.
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/.