Watchdog Asks for Ethics Probe of U.S. Representative Richard Neal
FACT Says House Ways and Means Chairman Misused House Resources for Political Purposes
(Washington, D.C.) – September 5, 2019 – The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint today with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against House Ways and Means Chairman Representative Richard Neal (D-Mass). FACT’s complaint maintains that Neal improperly used taxpayer-funded resources to promote his re-election campaign.
According to the complaint, Neal “used his government-funded congressional Facebook page to run campaign advertisements…” before the 2018 primary. The ads stated, “Commit to vote on September 4th for Richard Neal” and included the disclaimer, “Paid for by Richard E Neal for Congress Committee.” House ethics rules strictly forbid members of Congress from using official government communication, including social media accounts, to campaign for re-election.
While a spokesperson for Neal’s campaign said the campaign vendor was mistakenly given the information for the official congressional page and the campaign paid the cost for running the political ads, FACT maintains that this is an irrelevant excuse.
“It does not matter that Neal’s campaign stated it ultimately paid the cost for running the ads—the taxpayers pay for the official page and an official government communication endorsed a candidate,” noted the complaint.
“The ethics rules clearly prohibit Members from using taxpayer funded websites and social media for political purposes and any violation is serious. This violation, whether careless or intentional, also raises additional questions about the possible improper misuse of Neal’s congressional and campaign staffs,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT).
FACT urges the OCE to immediately investigate and take appropriate action in response to these blatant violations of the House Ethics Rules and the Official Code of Conduct.
A full copy of the complaint to can be read here.
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/