Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been having a bad week.
First, he finally got the long-awaited boot off the House Intelligence Committee. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just eviscerated him for his lying on the Committee. Schiff melted down in a presser over it , and he hasn’t gotten over it yet. He’s still throwing fits.
Schiff tried to recover by declaring his run for the Senate, for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)’s seat. It’s not clear yet whether Feinstein intends to run again. Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) has already declared a run for that seat, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is also expected to throw her hat into the ring. So, Schiff might have a very tough fight on his hands–as the field is likely to be crowded.
But Schiff being Schiff, he immediately did something that has gotten him into trouble and earned him an ethics complaint.
The ethics watchdog group the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has filed a complaint against Schiff with the Office of Congressional Ethics, asking that they investigate whether he violated House rules and “abused official resources for political purposes” by using footage from the Senate floor for his video announcing his Senate run. His video shows him using video from the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
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.
We’re in the fight of our lives—a fight I’m ready to lead as California’s next U.S. Senator. pic.twitter.com/H0Pa0EhhMu
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) January 26, 2023
“This is a clear violation of House ethics rules and federal law,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of FACT. “Rep. Schiff has been in Congress for over two decades and undoubtedly knows that official government resources cannot be used for political purposes. Rep. Schiff must immediately take down the video and cease distribution of the footage, and the Office of Congressional Ethics should move swiftly to investigate and sanction Rep. Schiff for this breach.”
Schiff’s campaign people gave a typical Schiff-ty answer. They claimed because it was from the Senate, the rules didn’t apply to them.
“House ethics rules prohibit the use of House floor or committee footage for campaign purposes — the rules do not apply to footage from the Senate, which is what was used in Congressman Schiff’s video,” a campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “No footage from any House proceeding was used in the video, and Congressman Schiff was fully in compliance with House ethics guidelines.”
But according to FACT, that excuse is nonsense; the rule applies to House and Senate floor videos.
“Federal law states that ‘appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made except as otherwise provided by law,'” the complaint said. “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,” the complaint added, “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.” [….]
“This 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,” the complaint said. “One issue the House Ethics Manual acknowledges is the public perception that incumbents are simply using their office to run for re-election or to run for a higher office, and the reason for that perception is quite evident in Rep. Schiff’s actions. Moreover, his use of official resources does not reflect credibly on the House.”
But it’s the hypocritical Adam Schiff — rules don’t apply to him; he should get to do what he wants. The impeachment was all political to begin with, and Schiff just proved that in spades with how he’s using the footage. It’s great that he finally seems to be facing some accountability.