OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is facing an ethics complaint over a campaign video he put together as he launched his bid for retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat.
The video features a clip of Schiff presenting his case for then-President Donald Trump’s second impeachment on the floor of the Senate, which, according to the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), is a violation of congressional rules.
Our democracy is at great risk. Because GOP leaders care more about power than anything else.
And because our economy isn’t working for millions of hard working Americans.
We’re in the fight of our lives—a fight I’m ready to lead as California’s next U.S. Senator. pic.twitter.com/H0Pa0EhhMu
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) January 26, 2023
“Federal law states that ‘appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were made except as otherwise provided by law,'” FACT wrote in a letter to the House Ethics Committee. “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. To make it abundantly clear, both the House ethics rules and Senate rules specifically identify Congressional video of floor proceedings as official resources that Members are prohibited from using for political purposes,” the letter continued.
“Simply put, under the House ethics rules, a Member is prohibited from using either House or Senate photographs or video because both are official government resources. This includes any photograph or video footage of floor proceedings even if it was reposted from a third-party source, i.e. another website or news organization. As the Ethics Committee has stated, ‘Members may not re-use an image of a floor proceeding published by a third-party, if the Member could not use that image in the first instance,'” FACT noted further, adding: “Adam Schiff thought that leading the charge on impeaching Donald Trump would be his golden ticket to the Senate.”
Last week, Schiff — the former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — was accused by former CIA director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of leaking classified information throughout the Trump administration.
“During my time as CIA director and secretary of state, I know that he leaked classified information that had been provided to him,” Pompeo said, noting that Schiff played a crucial role in the Trump-Russia investigation, which was plagued with leaks to the media for years.
“It’s a complicated process, right? It’s difficult to pin down precisely what happened,” Pompeo said. “But I could tell you that when we provided information to him and to his staff, it ended up in places it shouldn’t have been with alarming regularity. We could see it. In the end, I decided I held back information from them as a result.”
In January, newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made good on a previous pledge to remove Schiff from the committee once Republicans took control of the chamber.
“Let me be very clear and respectful to you,” McCarthy responded to a reporter in January during a contentious interview. “You ask me a question, when I answer it, it’s the answer to your question. You don’t get to determine whether I answer your question or not, okay? With all respect, thank you. No, no. Let’s answer her question.”
“You just raised the question. I will be very clear with you. The Intel Committee is different, well, you know why? Because what happens in the Intel Committee, you don’t know. What happens in the Intel committee, other secrets are going on the world, other members of Congress don’t know,” McCarthy said.
“You have not had the briefing that I had,” McCarthy continued.
“I had the briefing, and Nancy Pelosi had the briefing from the FBI. The FBI never came before this Congress to tell the leadership of this Congress that Eric Swalwell had a problem with the Chinese spy until he served on Intel,” McCarthy continued.
“So it wasn’t just us who were concerned about it, the FBI was concerned about putting a member of Congress on the Intel committee that has the right to see things that others don’t, because of his knowledge and relationship with a Chinese spy,” he said.