Watchdog Calls for Investigation into 7 Michigan Reps for Ethical Violations
Evidence Shows Reps. Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, Andy Levin, Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, and Rashia Tlaib took advantage of the proxy vote system
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 Michigan Representatives Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, Andy Levin, Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, and Rashia Tlaib, for abusing the proxy vote system to attend a political event with President Biden.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi enabled members of Congress to vote by proxy on May 15, 2020, due to COVID-19 – a public health emergency. Just over a year later in a letter dated May 17, 2021, Dingell, Kildee, Lawrence, Levin, Slotkin, Stevens, and Tlaib all granted their votes by proxy to another Member, citing their inability to “physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency.”
However, thanks to recent media reports, the actual reason for each Member's missed votes was that they were touring a Ford Motor facility with President Biden and attending a speech delivered in Dearborn, Michigan. While all seven Members stated they were “unable to physically attend” House proceedings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the true reason they did not attend was because they were physically present at a political event. Under the House resolution, the purpose of the proxy vote must be due to the “public health emergency” and the procedure for proxy voting was not authorized for any other purpose.
“It appears obvious that Reps. Dingell, Kildee, Lawrence, Levin, Slotkin, Stevens, and Tlaib abused the proxy vote system by making an affirmative choice to physically attend an in-person political event. Clearly, if they were able to spend the day in public with President Biden, then they were more than capable of doing their elected duty of voting in person. The OCE must investigate to ensure each Representative fulfills the public trust inherent in the office and that they comply with the House’s ethical standards,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
A full copy of the complaint can be found by clicking 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/