Did Dems on Judiciary Skip Ethics 101?

Did Dems on Judiciary Skip Ethics 101?
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Did Dems on Judiciary Skip Ethics 101?
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
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I’ve been involved in state and national politics for a long time, but as the old expression goes … Just when you think you’ve seen it all … 

Three House Democrats – the same liberal members who sat in sanctimonious judgment of President Trump during their failed impeachment fiasco – now face serious, legitimate charges of possible election law and ethics violations.  

Several news reports reveal that three Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee – the same committee with jurisdiction over the Department of Justice and our nation’s law enforcement – are now the subject of ethics complaints alleging numerous violations related to improper campaign fundraising and possibly unlawful spending of campaign funds. 

Complaints have been filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against Reps. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Lucy McBath of Georgia. The nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog group Americans for Public Trust filed the complaints and should be commended for bringing to light what appear to be clear violations of federal election laws and House ethics rules.  

These three Democrats serve on the very committee that played a lead role in the bogus charges and partisan impeachment proceedings against President Trump, proceedings which ended in the president’s complete acquittal.

Allegations against Rep. McBath connect her to contributions and possible illegal campaign coordination with the radical gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety. Americans For Public Trust alleges that after McBath began running for Congress in 2018, she remained on the payroll for the gun-phobic organization as a national spokesperson, appearing on television as a candidate for Congress and as a spokesperson for Everytown.

According to the ethics filing, “Everytown began spending in the election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District while Representative McBath was still serving as the group’s national spokesperson. It is not publicly known what level of involvement Representative McBath had in Everytown’s expenditures against her eventual general election opponent while she was still employed by Everytown."

The complaint also alleges possible illegal campaign coordination between Everytown and the Georgia Democrat, noting how Everytown spent over $1.2 million in support of McBath’s primary race and over $3 million in her general election campaign at a time when she maintained a close relationship with the organization. Everytown exists largely due to contributions from billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, whom McBath recently endorsed.   

Charges against Rep. Jayapal maintain that the Washington State Democrat violated ethics rules by soliciting money while performing an official duty. Apparently, Jayapal skipped her House 101 ethics lesson on how to properly fundraise because any freshman member of Congress knows you can’t ask for money in return for co-sponsoring a bill.

On Twitter, Jayapal posted about her sponsorship of the "Medicare-for-all" bill and asked for campaign contributions to keep “momentum going” and to “advance her legislation.” The complaint against Jayapal also says the congresswoman violated House ethics rules by improperly leveraging C-SPAN coverage of official House business for her political purposes.

The filing against Rep. Dean claims that after she halted her campaign for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, she violated election laws and House rules by moving funds from her statewide campaign into her congressional campaign coffers. Americans for Public Trust also asserts that roughly $17,000 in improper expenditures continued even after Dean was elected to Congress.

Perhaps these Congress members don’t believe the laws governing campaign fundraising and spending apply to them. Perhaps they are so inept they don’t understand the rules they must follow. But all three members sit on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, and they all played a high-profile role in the deceptive, politically driven impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

One can’t help but note the irony – how these members who ridiculed and scorned the president now face real, legitimate charges against them. These members are now tasked with defending themselves against substantive allegations of unethical, perhaps illegal behavior for which they will be held accountable.

Teri Christoph is co-founder of Smart Girl Politics and host of the Smart Girl Politics podcast on Ricochet. Follow Teri on Twitter @TeriChristoph.

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