June 27, 2017

DCCC Chairman Under Investigation By House Ethics Committee

In January, the chairman of the DCCC, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) released a statement praising the Office of Congressional Ethics for its “independence” and “ability to act on serious allegations of misconduct or criminal activity.”

DCCC Chairman Lujan must be regretting that extremely strong praise for the OCE because they’ve just referred Congressman Lujan’s unethical behavior to the House Ethics Committee for review:

Two high-power Democrats are facing scrutiny for possible ethics infractions, the House Ethics Committee announced Monday. Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), are being reviewed by the panel at the recommendation of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), an independent, bipartisan group that examines ethics complaints and forwards what it considers the most serious cases to the Ethics Committee.”

The investigation into Congressman Lujan stems from an ethics complaint filed by the non-partisan watchdog group the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust:

“The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust said Luján improperly used images of Democrats on the House floor in fundraising emails. ‘Do you stand with us?’ one Luján solicitation read. ‘Chip in $24 toward our emergency fundraising goal — $1 for every hour we’ve been in the well of the House chamber demanding action.’”

Additionally, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the top aide of Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) yesterday:

“The House Ethics Committee on Monday launched an inquiry into a complaint filed against a congressional staffer who appears to be U.S. Rep. John Lewis’ longtime top aide. The panel’s top Republican and Democratic members said they agreed to investigate a complaint filed against Michael Collins, a House aide, on May 11. That’s the name of Lewis’, D-Atlanta, longtime chief of staff, and a search through LegiStorm’s database of House staffers indicated he was the only Michael Collins employed by the House last month.”

This follows from a FACT complaint filed against Congressman Lewis’ aide in January.

The House Ethics Committee’s serious treatment of FACT’s ethics complaints shows this Congress is committed to holding even the powerful accountable for their unethical actions.