FACT Alerts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris to Ethics Violation
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT Says Senators Violated Senate Ethics Rules by Improperly Soliciting Campaign Donations
The non-partisan ethics watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint today with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) for improperly soliciting campaign donations, a violation of Senate Ethics rules.
“FACT is calling for an immediate investigation into Senators Warren and Harris for tying official congressional action to campaign fundraising,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). “This is a clear violation of the Senate Ethics rules which safeguard against the appearance or actuality of elected officials ‘cashing in’ on their official position for political purposes,” Arnold added.
According to FACT’s complaint, Senators Warren and Harris both sent campaign fundraising emails before the Senate vote on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Specifically, the campaign emails both stated Senators Warren and Harris’s official role and positions on the ongoing confirmation hearing and then made direct requests for campaign donations with “DONATE NOW” and “CONTRIBUTE” buttons. Senate ethics laws prohibit candidates from using the promise of official action or legislative work in a direct ask for campaign cash.
FACT points to the following section of Senate Ethics rules:
Senate Ethics Rules prohibit Senators from solicitating campaign contributions based upon any action taken in their official capacity. By linking a promise of official action with campaign contributions, a Senator violates a “basic principle” of Senate Ethics that guards against conflicts of interest. The Senate Ethics Manual is clear that a Senator “should never use the prestige or influence of a position in the Senate for personal gain. This provision was intended ‘as a broad prohibition against members, officers or employees deriving financial benefit, directly or indirectly, from the use of their official position.’” Moreover, Senators are to act based upon merit, not on partisan affiliation or for campaign contributions.
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/.