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Squad Member Cori Bush Hit With Ethics Complaint After Fundraising Off Antics From House Floor

AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Recently, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) engaged in some pretty outrageous antics from the House floor when she interrupted House Majority Leader Steve Scalise's (R-LA) remarks with a cry of "your bills are racist!" The behavior isn't exactly surprising coming from the squad member, though that doesn't make it any less becoming, especially as she then sought to fundraise off of it a few days later. She's now been hit with an ethics complaint for it.


Late last week, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) issued a complaint requesting that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) investigate whether Bush "abused official resources for political purposes." As the complaint explains, Bush fundraised off of what is aptly described as "outrageous and unprofessional behavior" by using official House government resources, specifically the video footage of official House floor proceedings.

On July 28, Bush tweeted out from her campaign account the July 27 C-SPAN footage, and then on July 31 added a link to Act Blue so that people could donate. That the video footage came from C-SPAN is irrelevant, according to the complaint, "because a Member cannot use official footage even if it is obtained or reposted from another entity." 

The federal law that the complaint cites, 31 U.S.C. sec. 1301(a)., and the House Ethics Manual would make it seem quite clear that Bush was in the wrong, as the complaint goes on to stress at length. 

As the complaint laid out, with original emphasis:

Law. 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 House ethics rules enforce this law by also prohibiting Members from using any official resource for campaign or political purposes. An “official resource” is anything funded by taxpayers, examples include all government buildings and House offices, a Member’s official website and social media accounts, and photographs and video from the House floor or Committee proceedings. 

House Floor Video. Members are prohibited from using photographs and video ofHouse floor or committee proceedings for campaign or political purposes. This includes any photograph or video footage of official proceedings even if it was reposted from a third-party source, i.e. another website or news organization. As the Ethics Committee has stated, “Members may not re-use an image of a floor proceeding published by a third-party, if the member could not use that image in the first instance.”

Websites and Social Media Accounts. Federal law and House ethics rules require a strict separation between campaign and official websites and social media accounts. A Member’s official website and social media accounts may not be used for political purposes, and cannot include any of the following: personal, political, or campaign information; grassroots lobbying or soliciting support for a Member’s position; or a link to campaign or political related accounts or sites. A Member’s campaign social media accounts may not include any official content or resources, and cannot include a link to the Member’s official House website or social media accounts. A Member’s campaign social media account “may not share, like, retweet, etc., a post from an official social media account.” 

The laws at issue in this case protect taxpayer-funded resources from abuse and theft and strict enforcement addresses the public’s concerns that incumbents wrongfully use government funds to run for reelection.


"Rep. Bush’s abuse of official resources for political purposes shows a flagrant disregard for the law. These laws and ethics rules are in place to maintain the integrity of official proceedings, so members cannot leverage them for political advantage. The violation we have documented in our complaint is clear and obvious, and after confirming through investigation, we hope the OCE moves swiftly to impose the proper penalty," Kendra Arnold, who sent the letter and who serves as the executive director of FACT, said in a statement. 

Even if Bush didn't tweet out a fundraising pitch, prompting this ethics complaint, her behavior was still egregious. The brief footage above is insane, with Scalise trying to yield to Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA) as Bush's shouting is heard in the background. Various members are heard incoherently shouting at different points, as the speaker pro tempore bangs on his gavel to call the House in order. The video clip also shows that young children are present--perhaps family members of a representative--while elected members of Congress behave like tantruming toddlers.

As Bush's tweet shows, she wanted to shout even more, though, which would have served even further chaos. 

Some accountability is very much in order here. 

As Bonchie reminded when covering this ethics complaint for our sister site at RedState, this isn't even the first concern with Bush's ethics. She was also accused of misusing campaign funds to pay for her now husband's "security services."


And, as fellow sister site Twitchy covered last week, Bush also tweeted complaints about having been "unhoused," prompting a young man to claim that his father had helped house her, though he says Bush abused such kindness.

Bush fundraised off her "unhoused" remarks as well.


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