The Democratic National Committee (DNC), Monday, released a 30-second web ad promoting President Barack Obama’s jobs plan as part of a new campaign to promote the bill and its $477 billion price tag. But does that ad violate ethics rules? Some say yes.
Titled “14 Months,” the ad solely features clips from the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress last Thursday. It ends with the text, “Pass the President’s Jobs Plan”.
Despite the ad’s simplicity, it appears to violate House ethics rules that prohibit members of Congress from using footage of floor or committee proceedings for political purposes.
House Rule 5, clause 2(c)(1) says that “Broadcast coverage and recordings of House floor proceedings may not be used for any political purpose…” Additionally, House Rule 11, clause 4(b) says that “radio and television tapes and film of any coverage of House committee proceedings may not be use, or made available for use, as partisan political campaign material to promote or oppose the candidacy of any person for public office.”
Normally House ethics rules aren’t a problem for the DNC. But since April of this year, a member of Congress, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, has chaired the national committee. Some say that the House ethics rule applies to the DNC ad for the simple reason that Wasserman-Schultz is chair.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to the Ethics Committee to decide,” Sean Spicer, Communications Director of the Republican National Committee (RNC), told The Daily Caller. “But Congresswoman Schultz appears to have violated House rules by using a political speech for political purposes.” (RELATED: Obama asks Congress for $467 billion tax increase to fund jobs plan)
Another GOP aide reacted to the ad by telling TheDC, “The rules explicitly prohibit using House footage in ads advocating for or against a candidate, so the DNC would have to argue that their ad isn’t advocating President Obama’s re-election.”
“That doesn’t pass the straight-face test. Frankly, the fact that the DNC is doing a ad at all makes it look like the President’s speech was more about politics than policy,” the aide added.
The DNC has not yet returned requests for comment.