Evidence shows Rep. Crist (FL) ignored House ethics laws regarding proxy voting
Washington, D.C.— May 13, 2022— Today, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint requesting the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) immediately investigate Congressman Charlie Crist of Florida for abuse of proxy voting.
Between January 1 and April 7, 2022, Rep. Crist voted by proxy 107 times, claiming for each vote that he was "unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the [Covid-19 pandemic]."
Despite filing official documents with the U.S. House Clerk, ample evidence exists that Rep. Crist voted by proxy not because of the Covid 19 pandemic, but instead to actively campaign for Governor of Florida. Not only did Rep. Crist post photos of himself campaigning (indoors and unmasked) on multiple days that he officially claimed he could not be present in the House to vote, but then his own House Communications Director, stated on the record that this was an intentional and purposeful campaign strategy by saying:
“The Congressman has two important missions: representing Florida’s 13th District in Congress and giving Floridians, exhausted by Ron DeSantis’ never ending culture wars, a clear choice in November. The proxy offers a great way to ensure his constituents’ voices continue to be heard on legislation under consideration in Congress.”
The photos can also be seen in FACT's complaint linked to below.
By House rules, the use of proxy voting is explicitly allowed only due to the current "public health emergency" and, quite clearly, Rep, Crist is intentionally and wrongfully taking advantage of this rule.
"In this case, both public and on the record, evidence leave little room for doubt that Rep. Crist is taking advantage of a rule passed for a national health emergency in attempts to further his political career. The ethics rules function to maintain the integrity of government action, and the Office of Congressional Ethics is responsible for ensuring each Member fulfills the public trust inherent in the office and that they comply with the House’s ethical standards. Unfortunately, in this case Rep. Crist appears to have fallen far short of this standard, therefore, we urge the Board to immediately investigate Rep. Crist for abusing the proxy vote," said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
A full copy of the complaint can be found here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/