The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a non-partisan ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Friday. It requested an investigation into Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), for allegedly violating House Ethics rules which prohibit members from using taxpayer-funded resources for political purposes.
According to the OCE, Schrader and other congressional members must follow the ethics rules. These rules require that campaign and official acts are clearly separated.
[A] Member cannot use any official resources for political or campaign purposes. Official resources are anything that is funded by taxpayers. This includes a Member’s official press release and website, as well as social media accounts. This rule protects taxpayer-funded funds from theft and abuse. It addresses the concern that incumbents improperly use government funds to run for reelection. [Emphasis added.]
The complaint revealed that Kurt Schrader, a Congressman, paid for a digital advertisement titled “Veterinarian” by the representative.
The ad featured two headlines: Bipartisan Schrader bill to Strengthen Career & Technical education passes with unanimous support from June 22, 2017 and Schrader introduces bipartisan bill to keep drug costs down from January 31, 2019, both of which appeared to have been written by his taxpayer-funded congressional office.
The headline of the ad, Bipartisan Schrader bill to Strengthen Career & Technical education Passes With Unanimous Support was displayed in the ad.
The campaign advertisement at 0:19 features the headline of the press release “Bipartisan Scherader Bill to Strengthen Career & Technical education Passes With Unanimous Support” (citing June 22, 2017). This headline seems to be directly taken from Schrader’s official congressional press release, posted on his official congressional site on June 22, 2017.
The ad had the headline “Schrader Introduces Bipartisan Law To Keep Drug Costs Low”, and the complaint said:
The campaign advertisement, which runs at 0:14 in the video, features the headline “Schrader Introduces Bipartisan Law To Keep Drug Costs Low” (citing January 31, 2019). This headline seems to be taken from Schrader’s official congressional press release, which was posted on his official congressional site on January 31, 2019.
The complaint noted that Schrader must abide by all ethics rules as well as the House Ethics Manual. It also pointed out that FACT filed a second complaint with OCE to request an investigation into stock transactions. This was after he failed to disclose tens to thousands of dollars worth of stocks. This allegedly violated federal law.
Breitbart News reported that Schrader, a member of House Energy and Commerce Committee, failed to disclose $30,000 in stock sales by Charter Communications, Inc. and AON Plc within the 45-day deadline set forth in the STOCK Act of 2012.
According to the STOCK Act, Schrader must submit a periodic transaction record to the Clerk in the House of Representatives within 30 – 45 days of stock transfers exceeding $1,000. This is to ensure that Congress members are not being harmed by insider trading allegations.
Surprisingly, the office of the congressman declined to answer Business Insider’s questions about whether his investments in the companies were a conflict with his committee responsibilities.
Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT, summed up her ethics complaint by saying that it was troubling that our Members could not follow even the most basic ethics rules. Repeated violations of these laws show a lack respect for them all.