Democrats May Face Ethics Violations For Sit-In

Posted: Jun 29, 2016 2:30 PM

The Democrats House sit-in may be over, but it looks like we haven't heard the last of this political stunt. Apparently, the Democrats may face House ethics violation charges for the sit-in. 

On Monday, The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), an independent watchdog group, filed a complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics. They are arguing that the Democrats violated House ethics rules by fundraising over the sit-in and using House resources for political purposes. 

"The public expects, and the rules require, that Members take action based on merit, and not in an effort to seek campaign contributions," said Matthew Whitakers, the executive director of FACT. "This type of behavior is precisely why the public distrusts elected officials."

The House ethics manual explains that "The House buildings, and House rooms and offices – including district offices – are supported with official funds and hence are considered official resources. Accordingly, as a general rule, they may not be used for the conduct of campaign or political activities. Thus, for example, a Member may not film a campaign commercial or have campaign photos taken in a congressional office."  

Reps. Jared Huffman is one congressman specifically named in the complaint for violating House rules. 

"Representative Lujan sent an email that explained 'we need action' and 'it begins with a vote,' and then asked for campaign contributions based on the plea that 'we must come together to pass this commonsense bill," wrote Whitaker in the complaint. The complaint also mentioned how the email included a photography of the House Floor.  

These charges echo the concerns of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who criticized the Democrats the next day of the sit-in for using the Orlando shooting to fund their campaign efforts. 

"It this is not a political stunt then why are they trying to raise money off of this? Off of a tragedy," said Ryan. "What they've called for failed in a committee in the House. The reason I call this a stunt is because they know this isn't going anywhere. It already failed in the Senate."

Also, the Democrats have planned to hold tons of events throughout the nation today as part of a national day of action against gun violence. 

"Tomorrow, listen to the stories of the families who have lost loved ones to gun violence," wrote House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a statement. "Listen to the heartbreak that ripples through a community with each gun death. We owe them more than thoughts and prayers and moments of silence. We owe them a vote in the House on commonsense, life-saving legislation that will prevent more families from experiencing their suffering."

Here's a list of the various events that the democrats planned for today. 

According to Rep. John Lewis, the man behind the sit-in, after the recess he and his fellow democrats plan to continue to use whatever means necessary to push for more gun control. 

"Well there will be something next," said Lewis. "This is not the end. This is just a down payment, until we get the Congress to bring fourth a major piece of legislation to end the proliferation of guns in our country".