The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog, sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asking for an investigation into Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) for allegedly using her taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes.
The ethics watchdog said that the congresswoman was “using official taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes, making campaign solicitations while in a House office, and a campaign contribution violation” — a violation of strict Federal laws and House Ethics rules that separate campaigns and official duties.
FACT explained the Federal laws and House Ethics rules that require there to be a strict divide between campaign and official acts:
A Member is clearly prohibited from using official resources for campaign or political purposes. “Official resources” are anything paid for by taxpayer funds, including congressional buildings, office equipment, and staff time. Additionally, federal law specifically prohibits Members from participating in campaign meetings and soliciting campaign contributions while located in a congressional building.
The complaint explained that Slotkin attended a virtual meeting with the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) and her staffer, who introduced himself in an official capacity as Slotkin’s national security adviser, last month on May 11.
During the meeting, the complaint explained that Slotkin discussed campaign strategy and solicited campaign contributions with JDCA, which has a Super PAC and an independent expenditure filer with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Both have supported the congresswoman in the past.
The watchdog noted that during the meeting, the congresswoman talked about campaign strategy, discussing the specific type of voter turnout she would need to win her reelection campaign.
“I do not believe I can win unless we have significant turnout from Michigan State students. Full stop,” she said. “If there’s anything we can do on voter registration and voter turnout— that is, I think, the only way that I will hang on to this district.”
She also solicited cash campaign contributions and an in-kind contribution.
“Of course, I always love” having “traditional contributions,” Slotkin said. She also asked for in-kind donations “in paid voter registration.”
The congresswoman further suggested “paying students to register their fellow students,” calling this technique “the Stacey Abrams model.”
The video of this exchange showed Slotkin with her taxpayer-funded congressional staffer, who used his official title when introducing himself. They were seated in what appeared to be her congressional office, which is prohibited from being used for political activity and campaign solicitations.
FACT identified a tweet from JDCA that also appeared to show Slotkin in her House office with her taxpayer-funded staffer during the meeting:
🚨 Week of Action Spotlight 🚨
Thank you for meeting with Jewish Dems, @RepSlotkin. From national security to defending democracy at home, we’re grateful for your continued leadership and partnership with JDCA as we advocate for our shared values. pic.twitter.com/8lM8gUG32e
— Jewish Dems (@USJewishDems) May 12, 2022
Additionally, FACT pointed out that Slotkin posted a photo the day of the meeting on Twitter, where she appeared to be in the exact same spot in her taxpayer-funded congressional office:
Had the pleasure of sitting down this morning with Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers of the @MINationalGuard to talk about how Congress can support the men & women of our state’s Guard. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/3orjnhJL65
— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) May 11, 2022
The complaint stated:
The Office of Congressional Ethics is responsible for ensuring each Representative fulfills the public trust inherent in the office and complies with the House’s ethical standards. As the House Ethics Manual sets forth, violations of the laws prohibiting use of official resources for campaign purposes and soliciting campaign contributions while located in congressional buildings are very serious offenses. This case is especially egregious because it implicates the foundational ethics principles that Members cannot use government resources for their political gain. Therefore we urge the Board to immediately investigate Rep. Slotkin for using official resources for campaign purposes, soliciting campaign contributions from Congressional buildings, and for violating federal campaign finance laws.
FACT’s Executive Director, Kendra Arnold, slammed the congressman in a statement:
The House ethics rules make it clear that using government resources for campaign purposes and soliciting any type of campaign contribution from House buildings are very serious offenses. This is the case because it implicates a foundational principle that Members cannot use government resources for their political gain. The exchange that occurred in this case involved Representative Slotkin plainly discussing her campaign and asking for what she felt was needed to win her race. After watching this video there is simply no scenario where this is related to official House business and not campaign related. Thus, we urge the Board to immediately investigate Rep. Slotkin for using official resources for campaign purposes, soliciting campaign contributions from Congressional buildings, and for violating federal campaign finance laws.
A full copy of the FACT’s complaint against Sloktin can be found here.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.
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