The campaign video Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released to announce his 2024 Senate campaign became the subject of an ethics complaint within a single day.
On Thursday, Schiff announced he is running to replace Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate in 2024. By Friday, a nonprofit organization called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) had filed an ethics complaint against Schiff’s very first Senate campaign ad.
In the ad, Schiff featured a variety of news clips from his time in office, including floor footage from his involvement in the February 2020 Senate impeachment trial against then-President Donald Trump.
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
Following the release of Schiff’s campaign video, FACT sent a complaint to the House Ethics Committee, asking it to “immediately investigate whether Representative Adam Schiff abused official resources for political purposes.”
FACT said the portion of Schiff’s campaign video that included the floor footage constitutes official resources.
“‘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,” the complaint states.
The nonprofit group argued the ethics rules are in place to both protect taxpayer-funded resources from being abused as well as ensure the integrity of official proceedings, “reducing the incentive for Members to make political speeches during official proceedings.”
Schiff’s campaign video showed a portion of the House floor footage that was republished by NBC News.
Politico reporter Anthony Adragna questioned whether the campaign video’s use of floor footage would be in violation of House rules. CQ and Roll Call chief correspondent Niels Lesniewski shared his assessment that because Schiff was speaking on the floor of the Senate and because he was sharing floor footage that was republished by NBC News, he had a “workaround” that “could be okay.”
A spokesperson for Schiff’s campaign shared a similar assessment that using Senate floor footage was acceptable.
“House ethics rules prohibit the use of House floor or committee footage for campaign purposes—the rules do not apply to footage from the Senate, which is what was used in Congressman Schiff’s video,” a campaign spokesperson told Fox News. “No footage from any House proceeding was used in the video, and Congressman Schiff was fully in compliance with House ethics guidelines.”
By contrast, FACT argued that no such workaround exists.
“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,” the FACT complaint states.
FACT referenced a 2014 House Ethics Committee memorandum that states House members “may not conduct campaign activities in official buildings, using official resources, or on House time.” The memo further states that official buildings include “not only any House office building, but also all district office space, any Senate office building, the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and any federal building.”
FACT executive director Kendra Arnold said Schiff “must immediately take down the video and cease distribution of the footage” and the House Ethics Committee should move swiftly to investigate and sanction him over the campaign video.
NTD News reached out to Schiff’s campaign for comment, but did not receive a response before publication.