Ranking GOP Committee Member Demands IG Probe of Unethical Abuses of Power… by FEC Chair

Just hours after two prolific GOP donors with ties to the president’s personal attorney were arrested for campaign finance violations, news has come to light that the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee has demanded an Inspector General investigation of Federal Election Commission (FEC) Chair Ellen Weintraub.

In a letter to the FEC IG Christopher Skinner on Thursday, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) accused Weintraub of violating federal ethics rules by improperly using the power of her office to further her political agenda.

According to Davis, Weintraub’s primary transgression appears to be publicly disagreeing with President Donald Trump when discussing U.S. elections.

Davis wrote that Weintraub “used official FEC resources to publish her personal opinions on political matters.” He then lists several potential infractions such as Weintraub “requesting that President Trump ‘immediately share his evidence [of alleged voter fraud in New Hampshire] with the public and with the appropriate law-enforecment authorities,’” and “making public a draft interpretive rule regarding the ban on foreign national participation in elections.”

The Illinois representative also alleged that Weintraub “appeared in national media at least six times in just the last two months to discuss issue areas outside the purview at the FEC.”

“When questioned [by Anderson Cooper] about the President’s claims of voter fraud in New Hampshire, Chair Weintraub mentioned her letter to the President,” Davis wrote. “She later said, ‘[there has been] no evidence brought forth at all, and I think it is really damaging to our democracy to have these stories put forth by the leader of our country.’”

Weintraub was also guilty of saying that “the President’s claims are damaging.”

“It’s important that we have facts, not alternative facts or conspiracy theories,” she said, urging the Senate to take up bipartisan bills to protect U.S. elections.

Davis concludes by stating that the IG should investigate whether Weintraub should recuse herself from all matters involving the president.

In response to Davis’s letter, Weintraub tweeted that “This new complaint covers the same ground as one filed in 2017,” one that was “found to be absolutely baseless.” She then referred people to the statement she made at the time:

As a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, I am acutely aware that our democracy rests on the faith of the American people in the integrity of their elections.

The President of the United States has, without providing evidence, alleged a massive conspiracy to bus thousands of voters from one state to another to cast illegal votes in the 2016 elections.

Any such allegation challenging the legitimacy of federal elections would be of great concern to me. As it happens, this particular allegation falls squarely within the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission, since the expense of these buses has not been accounted for on any campaign-finance filing. Accordingly, I have asked the President for his evidence.

But let there be no doubt: It is absolutely within my official duties as a federal election official to comment publicly on any aspect of the integrity of federal elections in the United States. I will not be silenced.

Weintraub has time and again taken to Twitter to point out that it is illegal to solicit, accept or receive “anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.”

https://twitter.com/EllenLWeintraub/status/1179783410820292608

[Image via CNN screengrab]

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.

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