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FACT Files Complaint Against Rep. Sean Casten

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Washington, D.C. --- July 14, 2023 --- 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 Sean Casten of Illinois to determine whether he used official House video, photographs, and press releases on his campaign Twitter account in violation of House rules that prohibit abusing official resources for campaign or political purposes.

Federal law states that “appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which appropriations were made except as otherwise provided by law.” Ethics rules enforce this law by prohibiting Members from using any official resource for campaign or political purposes. An “official resource” is anything funded by taxpayers, including official House video and government buildings. The rules additionally reiterate that campaign social media accounts cannot contain any official content or resources.

Despite these rules, Rep. Casten has repeatedly tweeted using official government resources and re-posted official government content, including House floor video, photographs, and press releases. Moreover, Rep. Casten’s campaign Twitter account links directly to his official account, despite ethics rules forbidding a Member’s campaign website to directly link to a congressional website or social media site.

“The laws at issue in this case are important because not only do they protect taxpayer-funded resources from abuse, they also protect the integrity of official proceedings. One issue the House Ethics Manual acknowledges is the public perception that incumbents are simply using their office to run for re-election or to run for a higher office, and the reason for that perception is quite evident in Rep. Casten’s actions. His campaign social media posts abusing official resources are too numerous to include in one complaint, warranting an immediate ethics investigation by the OCE,” 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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