A left-leaning ethics group filed ethics complaints against Michigan Rep. Justin Amash and President Donald Trump’s social media director.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Office of Special Counsel for a series of tweets between the two in the wake of House Republicans’ failed effort to pass a bill that would repeal the 2010 health care law.
Last week, Scavino tweeted that Trump supporters put up a candidate to challenge Amash, a member of the House Freedom Caucus which opposed the bill, in his congressional primary next year.
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) April 1, 2017
CREW’s complaint stated that Scavino’s account depicted him with Trump near the Oval Office. Scavino later changed his Twitter bio to show his capacity in the Trump campaign.
Similarly, CREW’s complaint claimed Amash tweeted a link to donate to his campaign from the account he uses for congressional activities.
Bring it on. I’ll always stand up for liberty, the Constitution & Americans of every background. You can help here: https://t.co/ECxQGXE5XH.
“The rules are clear that government officials aren’t allowed to use their position for campaign activity,” Noah Bookbinder, CREW executive director, said in a statement. “In the case of Scavino and Amash, it appears that they both are in the wrong.”
But Amash’s office said that the account is Amash’s personal account and is not used for congressional activities, thus no taxpayer money is spent on the account.
Amash’s office said his staff does not have access to the account and that there is a separate account for his congressional activities.
CREW is arguing that Scavino’s actions violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive branch officials from using their official capacity to influence an election.
Similarly, rules for the House of Representatives prohibit the use of social media for political activity.
“While much attention has been paid to the intra-party squabbling between Scavino and Amash, the bigger issue may be the lack of respect for rules governing political activity,” Bookbinder said.