Rep. Schiff Under Fire: Did He Break Ethics Rules and Misuse Taxpayer Dollars?

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, is facing an ethics investigation over his use of footage from the Senate floor in an ad announcing his run for Senate. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate whether Schiff “abused official resources for political purposes” by using the video.

Schiff announced his Senate bid on Thursday via a video that was shared on his Twitter account. The video includes footage of Schiff speaking on the Senate floor during impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump.

“This is a clear violation of House ethics rules and federal law,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of FACT. “Rep. Schiff has been in Congress for over two decades and undoubtedly knows that official government resources cannot be used for political purposes.

Rep. Schiff must immediately take down the video and cease distribution of the footage, and the Office of Congressional Ethics should move swiftly to investigate and sanction Rep. Schiff for this breach.”

Schiff’s campaign has countered that the congressman didn’t violate any ethics rules because the video was of him speaking in the Senate rather than from the House floor.

“House ethics rules prohibit the use of House floor or committee footage for campaign purposes — the rules do not apply to footage from the Senate, which is what was used in Congressman Schiff’s video,” a campaign spokesperson said. “No footage from any House proceeding was used in the video, and Congressman Schiff was fully in compliance with House ethics guidelines.”

House members are prohibited from using House and Senate floor video for campaign purposes, according to FACT. “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 complaint said. “To enforce this law, the ethics rules prohibit members from using any official resource for campaign or political purposes.

‘Official resources’ includes anything funded by taxpayers, such as a member’s official website, social media accounts, and photographs and video from the House or Senate floor.”

“This is an important rule because it not only protects taxpayer-funded resources from abuse, but it also protects the integrity of official proceedings by reducing the incentive for members to make political speeches during official proceedings,” the complaint said.

“One issue the House Ethics Manual acknowledges is the public perception that incumbents are simply using their office to run for re-election or to run for a higher office, and the reason for that perception is quite evident in Rep. Schiff’s actions. Moreover, his use of official resources does not reflect credibly on the House.”

It is clear that Schiff, a long-time member of Congress, should have known better than to use official government resources for his political campaign. His actions are a violation of ethics rules and federal law, and he should be held accountable for them.

The OCE must move swiftly to investigate and sanction Schiff for this breach of trust with the American people. It is time for politicians to start acting with integrity and stop using their office for personal gain. The American people deserve better.