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Tipsheet

Rep. Elaine Luria Accused by Ethics Group of Fundraising Off of January 6

AP Photo/Steve Helber

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), a particularly vulnerable Democrat in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, has been accused by ethics watchdog groups of fundraising off of the January 6 select committee, which she serves on.

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The DNC, unsurprisingly, fundraised immediately off of the public hearings when they began earlier this month. It's particularly concerning for Rep. Luria to have done so, though, as members cannot fundraise off of their official duties. 

As The Washington Times reported last Friday:

Ethics watchdogs told The Washington Times that Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat, may have violated House ethics rules by invoking her work on the panel numerously in fundraising emails.

“House ethics rules clearly forbid members from soliciting campaign contributions linked to any action taken in their official capacity,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of the conservative Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. “In this case, Rep. Luria‘s campaign emails arguably directly link herattendance at official hearings to an ask for campaign contributions.”

Mrs. Luria’s campaign has sent numerous fundraising emails in recent weeks asking donors to reward her “principled leadership” on the Jan. 6. committee. Most of the solicitations have been coordinated to coincide with direct actions taken by the panel.

For instance, Mrs. Luria‘s campaign sent out an email only hours after the committee held a televised, prime-time hearing to unveil its findings earlier this month.

“Folks, Elaine knows that her constituents care about American democracy — even if the extreme far-right doesn’t. We need principled leadership in Congress,” the email states. “Will you support Elaine — the only member of the January 6th committee running in a swing district — for her toughest fight yet?”

Another email sent out three days made a similar appeal, while invoking Mrs. Luria’s work probing the Jan. 6 incident. That email, in particular, went out as the committee was holding another publicly televised hearing.

She chose to serve on the January 6th Committee – despite the significant political risk and right-wing attacks — because it’s the right thing to do for our country,” it states. “We need patriotic leadership in Washington, now more than ever. Chip in to help Elaine continue this fight in Congress.”

Ethics watchdogs say the timing and content of the emails are troubling, especially as House ethics rules directly prohibit members of Congress from fundraising off their official duties.

“This is an important rule to ensure that members are acting on merit and not doing something so they can raise campaign contributions,” Mrs. Arnold said.

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The January 6 select committee also made a last-minute announcement on Monday that they would be holding additional hearings on Tuesday. 

A report from earlier this month by The New York Times indicates that Rep. Luria is potentially even more vulnerable due to her position on the select committee, which she herself acknowledges. 

Rep. Luria will face Republican nominee Jen Kiggans in the upcoming November midterm elections, now just a little over four months from now. 

All of the prognosticators consider the race to be a "Toss-up," and Rep. Luria was among those that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added to its frontline program in March of last year as a way to protect vulnerable incumbents. Since then, the district has become even more Republican leaning, due to redistricting. 

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