An ethics watchdog is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for potential violations of federal law and House ethics rules in misusing official resources for political purposes.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has filed an ethics complaint with the Ethics Office, asking for an investigation into Omar’s use of the Chinese social media app TikTok to determine whether his account violates the rules of home and abuse official resources for political purposes.
The popular Chinese social media app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd, was banned from US government devices – when a provision was added to the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that the President Joe Biden has signed into law – to be a potential national security issue. And lawmakers are seeking to ban TikTok entirely in the United States due to many significant concerns about the app’s ability.
FACT noted that despite warnings not to use TikTok about the risk that the Chinese government could see the data, Omar allegedly used the same TikTok account for both official House purposes and political purposes, which would constitute a violation of the House’s ethical rules.
The complaint explained some of the content seen on the Congresswoman’s account, where she is described as the “Congresswoman for #MN05”:
She did overtly political posts, including a video of her urging viewers to support Democratic candidates, a message to Democrats volunteering for campaigns, and several videos of her campaigning and attending campaign events. Along with this political content, it has also posted messages using official government resources, including C-SPAN images of the floor of the house, what appears to be cellphone video recorded on the floor of the house, and an interview of what appears to be in his home office. (Emphasis added.)
FACT explained federal laws and House ethics rules that require there to be a strict separation between campaigning and official acts, such as members being “prohibited from using official resources for campaign” and members being “prohibited from using campaign funds for official purposes. ”
Due to these rules, FACT noted that the TikTok account abuses government resources because there is official and political content posted, in addition to the official video recorded on the floor of the house, which according to the watchdog , could be another breach of ethics rules.
“These violations are disturbing and clearly inconsistent with how members are expected to use official resources,” FACT executive director Kendra Arnold said. “The law is very clear, and its account and published content speaks for itself. These rules are intended to protect the time, resources and integrity of official process for elected officials.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.