An ethics watchdog group filed a complaint against Rep. Haley Stevens, a Michigan Democrat, in response to a campaign email Stevens sent that includes a photo of her speaking on the House floor.
“The ethics rules explicitly prohibit members from using House floor photographs for campaign purposes and from soliciting campaign contributions tied to votes,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. “It is important these laws are followed and enforced to protect taxpayers and ensure every vote is taken on its merit and not for political gain.”
Stevens’s spokesperson said the congresswoman is busy helping her district cope with the impact of the coronavirus. Her campaign issued a statement declaring they would work to ensure they don’t repeat the mistake.
“Congresswoman Stevens is working tirelessly to support front-line health workers and stand up for families in Michigan during this unprecedented crisis,” a campaign official said in a statement. “Our campaign always strives to follow all ethical guidelines for email updates and will make sure to prevent any similar oversights in the future.”
Stevens, a freshman, delivered an impassioned House floor speech on Thursday, when lawmakers were considering a $2.2 trillion economic relief package.
Stevens, 36, donned pink latex gloves and called for a robust federal response to the coronavirus outbreak.
In the fundraising email, she used a photo of herself standing at the lectern, wearing the gloves under the caption, “Hello from the Capitol.”
The email asks for a campaign donation.
“The ethics rules strictly prohibit members from using official resources for any campaign or political purpose,” Arnold wrote to the Office of Congressional Ethics, a noncongressional panel that filters complaints for the House Ethics Committee. “In this case, Stevens’ campaign fundraising email demonstrates she is using government resources and legislation to solicit political contributions — a direct contradiction to the House Ethics rules.”
The organization filing the complaint has also lodged charges against other political figures in both parties, including Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in Georgia, and former Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who now serves as President Trump’s chief of staff.
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