The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) just published its annual list of the Worst Ethics Violators in Washington, and two Democrats widely expected to take a shot at the presidency in 2020 made the list. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth “Don’t Call Me Pocahontas” Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris both made the list for fundraising off their obstruction of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
FACT reported that both Democrats sent out fundraising emails that played off their official opposition to Kavanaugh. In the emails, the senators told supporters that they could only put up a fierce confirmation battle if they had financial support from, you know, “viewers like you.” For their efforts, the senators undoubtedly put plenty of money in their 2020 coffers…but they also got nailed with an ethics complaint from FACT.
In their new report, the organization pointed out exactly how Warren and Harris has violated the rules for Senate decorum.
“Senators must conduct themselves according to the Senate Ethics rules,” FACT wrote. “Under the Senate Ethics Manual’s Scope of The Authority, the Senate ‘may discipline a Member for any misconduct, including conduct or activity which does not directly relate to official duties, when such conduct unfavorably reflects on the institution as a whole.’ A Senator who solicits campaign contributions related to official action certainly casts an unfavorable reflection on the Senate. In addition, the use of official action for political fundraising is directly related to official duties.”
When Warren realized that she was under an ethics investigation, she dismissed the complaint and called it “frivolous.” This inspired a scathing comeback from the watchdog group.
“Senator Elizabeth Warren’s characterization of her ethics violation as ‘frivolous’ is simply wrong and is a desperate attempt to make it go away,” a spokesperson from FACT replied. “The bottom line is she knowingly used the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings to fundraise for her re-election campaign and has refused to take responsibility for her illegal actions. Elected officials shouldn’t get to decide what laws they want to follow or ignore and that is why we are asking the Senate Ethics Committee to fully investigate this matter and hold Senator Warren accountable for her actions. It’s easy to launch attacks and ignore the issue. It’s much harder to answer the question and deal with the facts, she can’t do either successfully.”
Warren and Harris were not the only lawmakers to get written up in FACT’s year-end list, nor was the list confined to the wrongdoings of Democrats. In fact, two of the most sharply-criticized politicians were the Republican Party leaders themselves, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Both men were chastised for using taxpayer money to disappear sexual harassment allegations against various lawmakers.