CLC Files Complaint Against Another Senator Fundraising on Capitol Grounds

Issues
Image
Kelly Loeffler standing among columns with a microphone in front of her and video lights above her.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) waits for an interview to begin after attending a Senate Republican lunch meeting in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

Last month, Sen. Lindsey Graham solicited campaign contributions while on government property in the final days of his 2020 Senate race, in violation of federal law and Senate ethics rules. Now, Sen. Kelly Loeffler has committed the same offense. Will the Senate Ethics Committee stop this pattern, or will their silence on the issue green light the same unethical conduct from other members of Congress?

Loeffler is running in a highly publicized Senate runoff in Georgia. In a televised interview on a cable news program that appears to be in a Senate office building, Loeffler answered a wide range of questions relating to the Senate runoff, her opponent’s and her own agendas, and voting in Georgia. When she was asked about out-of-state donations to her opponent, Loeffler said the following:

“Well look, we know that hundreds of millions of dark liberal money is pouring into our state. That’s why it’s so important that everyone across the country get involved. They can visit KellyforSenate.com to chip in five or ten bucks, and get involved, volunteer.”

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint, requesting that the Ethics Committee investigate this blatant violation of rules that prohibits political fundraising on federal property.

If the Ethics Committee again fails to review this matter and hold both Graham and Loeffler accountable, the Senate will establish a dangerous precedent that solicitations of campaign contributions on federal property are permissible. 

Such a result conflicts not only with the Ethics Committee’s unequivocal rules and guidance, but also a fundamental principle of ethical public service: that federal resources are not to be used for political purposes. 

The Ethics Committee should conduct a swift investigation to reassure the public that it enforces its well-established rules and that Senators are not permitted to use federal resources to fundraise.

Kedric is CLC's General Counsel and Senior Director of Ethics
Delaney's work focuses on government ethics, accountability, and transparency.