After the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) demanded an immediate investigation into the use of video material from the Senate floor in an advertisement announcing Schiff’s Senate bid, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., received an ethics complaint on Friday.
The ethics watchdog group requested an investigation into whether Schiff “abused government resources for political objectives” by exploiting the footage in the complaint it made to the head of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
On Thursday, the California congressman revealed in a video posted to his Twitter account that he will be running for the Senate in 2024. That footage saw Schiff addressing on the Senate floor during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
According to FACT’s executive director Kendra Arnold, this clearly violates both federal law and House ethics regulations. “Rep. Schiff has served in Congress for more than 20 years and is likely aware that the use of official government resources for political purposes is prohibited. Rep. Schiff must stop sharing the video right away, and the Office of Congressional Ethics should move quickly to look into the matter and penalize Rep. Schiff for the violation.”
FACT’s assertions were refuted by Schiff’s campaign, which maintained that since the video was recorded on the Senate rather than the House floor, no ethics laws had been broken.
A campaign spokesperson informed Fox News Digital that although House ethics rules forbid the use of House floor or committee film for political reasons, they do not apply to footage from the Senate, which was used in Congressman Schiff’s video. Congressman Schiff fully complied with House ethics rules, and there was no footage from any House proceedings used in the film.
FACT claims that it is illegal for House members to exploit video from either the House or the Senate for political purposes.
The complaint stated that according to federal law, “appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made, unless otherwise provided by law.” “The ethics standards forbid members from utilizing any government resources for political or campaign objectives in order to uphold this law. Anything supported by tax dollars falls under the category of “official resources,” including social media profiles, websites, and images and videos taken on the House or Senate floor.”
The complaint continued, “To be very clear, neither the House ethics standards nor the Senate rules clearly designate congressional video of floor proceedings as official resources that members are banned from accessing for political reasons.”
Reporter Anthony Adragna for Politico shared the video and inquired about the legality of utilizing the material.
Schiff questioned on Thursday, “Is Schiff entitled to use film from the Senate floor in this announcement?” “I doubt it. (:12 mark).”
Niels Lesniewski, the head of Roll Call, responded to Adragna by saying, “Possible good. He is not a senator, and it appears that they got past this by using NBC TV video on the floor.”
But there isn’t a solution, according to a 2017 report from the House Ethics Committee.
According to the committee, “Members may not re-use a photograph of a floor proceeding published by a third party, if the member was unable to use that image in the first instance.”
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