By: Mark Glennon*
The righteous needn’t concern themselves with rules, laws or standards of fundamental decency, evidently.
I received this blast email this morning from my representative in Congress, Jan Schakowsky, who has been leading the sit-in on the House floor:
I just wanted to update you on what’s going on in the House.
It’s been 24 hours and despite House Republicans’ best efforts we’re still here, standing together and demanding that Speaker Ryan allow a vote on commonsense gun-safety legislation.
The bottom line is our colleagues on the other side of the aisle aren’t listening.
Which is why we need your help. Can you click here to donate and help elect more Democrats who will put an end to the GOP’s obstruction?
Donate $5 now [link omitted]
Donate $25 now [link omitted]
Donate $50 now [link omitted]
Or, donate another amount.
Yesterday, she sent this email:
I’m asking you while sitting here on the House floor: Will you support our fund to elect public servants willing to stand up to the NRA? We need to take action immediately…. Chip in right now to help us make that happen. [Emphasis added; link to her fundraising site omitted.]
From the House Committee on Ethics:
Among the specific activities that clearly may not be undertaken in a congressional office or using House resources (including official staff time) are the solicitation of contributions… The misuse of the funds and other resources that the House of Representatives entrusts to Members for the conduct of official House business is a very serious matter. Depending on the circumstances, such conduct may result in not only disciplinary action by the House, but also criminal prosecution…. The effect of these laws and rules is generally to preclude campaign or political activity from taking place in congressional offices. [Emphasis added.]
And from the House Ethics Manual:
The House buildings, and House rooms and offices – including district offices – are supported with official funds and hence are considered official resources. Accordingly, as a general rule, they may not be used for the conduct of campaign or political activities.
Schakowsky was among a group of about a dozen House Democrats who plunged the House into “pandemonium,” as the New York Times put it. In the unprecedented sit-in, “There were scenes of chaos across the floor as Republicans tried to resume regular business,” it wrote. The group includes others from the Illinois delegation — Robin Kelly, Mike Quigley and Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth, a disabled vet, removed her prosthetic legs for the event, reportedly to have a place to hide her cell phone, though it sure looked good for the pictures, like the one shown on the right.
When official cameras shut off, some of the protesters began filming on their own, which is also a House ethics violation.
Schakowsky regularly screams about obstructionism in Congress, which some of her GOP colleagues indeed have been guilty of, but this kind disruption is unparalleled. These protesters “threw out the rule book,” said the New York Times.
Credit Schakowsky for knowing what she is doing, in one way. She undoubtedly sees the same kind of polls I do, showing that support for stricter firearm restrictions spiked in her Ninth Congressional District after Orlando — which was largely a failure of gun control, as she sees it. What better time to solicit campaign contributions than during a protest about guns after Orlando?
Disclosure: I, too, would like stricter controls on assault weapon sales. I’m also a volunteer for Schakowsky’s opponent in November, Joan McCarthy Lasonde, in part because I despise Schakowsky.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.