Watchdog FACT Calls for Ethics Investigation of AOC
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
Complaint Maintains New York Representative Improperly
Used Official House Resources for Political Purposes
The non-partisan ethics watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint today with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for “improperly using taxpayer-funded resources and official action for political purposes in violation of numerous House ethics rules.”
According to FACT’s complaint, Representative Ocasio-Cortez has on multiple occasions violated Federal law and House Ethics rules by posting official House of Representatives video on her political Twitter and Instagram accounts. Additionally, she has improperly included a link to her official House webpage on her political Instagram page along with a solicitation of campaign contributions.
Federal law and House ethics rules both clearly prohibit use of taxpayer funded resources for campaign, fundraising, or other political purposes. Official resources include “broadcast coverage and recordings of” House floor and committee proceedings, as well as official House social media accounts. Also, the House Ethics Manual states that “’Member campaign websites . . . may not include a link to the Member’s House website; and The Member’s House website may not be advertised on his or her campaign website or in materials issued by the campaign.’”
The ethics rules require separation between political campaigns and government business, and specifically prohibit (1) using official resources, such as House floor or committee video, for any campaign or political purpose; (2) linking to an official web site on a political web site; and (3) fundraising using official resources or tied to official action. Each of these specific rules have been violated by Representative Ocasio-Cortez.
“Representative Ocasio-Cortez has not only violated the most basic congressional ethics laws on the books, she has done so repeatedly,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. “These laws exist so that elected Representatives are not using official business on behalf of the American people to push a political agenda or gain a political advantage. These are clear violations and the Ethics Committee needs to act.”
A copy of the full Ocasio-Cortez complaint can be read here.
Last month, FACT filed a similar complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for using footage of herself on the House floor during the President’s State of the Union address to improperly solicit campaign donations.
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/.