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FACT Calls for Investigation into Rep. Tim Ryan

Updated: Aug 3

Rep. Tim Ryan violated House proxy voting rules

Washington, D.C.— July 22, 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) investigate Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio for abusing proxy voting by stating he was unable to vote in person due to the Covid Pandemic, when the actual reason for his proxy votes was to attend political events for his Senate campaign.

On July 12, Rep. Ryan filed a letter with the House Clerk stating, "I am unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency and hereby grant the authority to cast my vote by proxy..." However, contrary to his statement, apparently the true reason Rep. Ryan voted by proxy was to campaign for U.S. Senate. On July 13th and 14th, Rep. Ryan voted by proxy a combined 56 times while simultaneously posting campaign videos and photos showing himself campaigning at in-person events. A few days later, he revoked his proxy vote authorization, thus highlighting the purpose for his proxy votes was for him to campaign.

The House ethics rules require Members to “conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House”. This is a broad and “comprehensive provision” that is applied to any conduct taken in a Member’s official capacity. Members are further required to adhere both to the spirit and the letter of the House ethics rules and must read all the rules and ethical requirements broadly. This includes House rules adopted "to ensure Congress can continue legislation during Covid-19," under which members are permitted to vote by proxy when needed "because of a public health emergency due to a novel Coronavirus is in effect."

"The ability to vote by proxy was put in place so the House could continue conducting necessary business during the public health emergency and for no other reason. This is evidenced by the fact that in order to vote by proxy, a Member must file a statement with the House Clerk declaring the reason for the proxy vote is related to the pandemic, and if that is not the case the Member is making a false statement to the House Clerk. We encourage the Office of Congressional ethics to immediately investigate whether Representative Ryan violated these House rules and if so, impose the proper penalties," said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.

A full copy of the complaint can be found here.

FACT is a nonprofit organization promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/

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