House Democrats received their first complaint regarding the gun control debate Monday with a formal ethics complaint regarding their sit-in stunt and the resulting fundraising emails the DNC sent to supporters.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust formally filed a complaint Monday with the Congressional Ethics Office. The complaint claimed that House Democrats broke the rules by taking their pictures in the House chamber, by filming Capitol buildings in campaign materials, and by using their House business for personal gain.
“Not only do these email solicitations tied directly to official acts reflect poorly on the House of Representatives, the emails are directly contrary to the purpose of the House ethics rules,” Matthew Whitaker, the executive director at the foundation told reporters.
The rule that forbids pictures taken inside the chambers is strictly enforced for staffers and guests, but normally disregarded by Representatives. During the sit-in, the Sergeant-at-arms warned Democrats repeatedly not to take pictures, but they continued anyway.
Representative Peters, a Democrat from California, actually used pictures of him on the House floor in his campaign’s fundraising emails. When Peters heard about the complaint, he responded, “They want to pick this fight and say the American people shouldn’t hear this stuff, that we’re like the Politburo, the Chinese communist party?” “If you want people to calm down, there’s a better way than fighting a stupid battle over rules.”
Representative John Lewis led the push, and was featured heavily in the Democratic Party’s fundraising emails. Lewis’ communications director, Brenda Jones, did not return a request for a comment regarding the ethics complaint.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan publicly condemned the sit-in, calling it a “stunt” designed to raise money for the Democrats. “We’re reviewing everything right now,” Ryan told reporters at a press conference regarding the ethics complaint.
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