Watchdog Files Ethics Complaint Against Schiff Over Senate Campaign Announcement Video


An ethics watchdog is filing an ethics complaint against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) over a video he used in his Senate campaign announcement.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asking it to probe whether Schiff “abused official resources for political purposes” by using a video from former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial in his announcement.

“On January 26, 2023, Representative Schiff announced he was running for U.S. Senate. In his campaign announcement video, he uses a video of himself speaking on the Senate floor, as seen below,” FACT said.

The letter included a screenshot of the video which shows Schiff speaking on the Senate floor during the first impeachment trial of Trump.

“Federal law states that ‘appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made except as otherwise provided by law,'” it continued.

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The letter went on:

“To enforce this law, the ethics rules prohibit Members from using any official resource for campaign or political purposes. ‘Official resources’ includes anything funded by taxpayers, such as a Member’s official website, social media accounts, and photographs and video from the House or Senate floor. To make it abundantly clear, both the House ethics rules and Senate rules specifically identify Congressional video of floor proceedings as official resources that Members are prohibited from using for political purposes.”

FACT argued, “In the present case, Rep. Schiff is clearly using official government video for campaign purposes in violation of federal law and the House ethics rules. The law is broad — not only is a Member directly prohibited from using the video, but the Member cannot repost from other sources or use video obtained from news outlets.”

“The law is clear and the image above speaks for itself — there are no facts that can excuse this violation,” it added.

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FACT noted the law is “an important rule because it not only protects taxpayer-funded resources from abuse, but it also protects the integrity of official proceedings by reducing the incentive for Members to make political speeches during official proceedings.”

Finally, it asked the OCE to “immediately investigate whether Representative Schiff used official resources for campaign purposes in violation of the House ethics rules.”

The letter comes a day after Schiff announced he is running for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

“Our democracy is at great risk. Because GOP leaders care more about power than anything else. And because our economy isn’t working for millions of hard working Americans,” he wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

He added, “We’re in the fight of our lives — a fight I’m ready to lead as California’s next U.S. Senator.”

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In the video, Schiff said, “I’ve always believed that what’s right matters, that the truth matters and that decency matters.”

He also accused Republicans of “gutting the middle class and threatening our democracy.”

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