Not long after the head of the Tea Party Patriots filed an ethics complaint against Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader's office accused that group of doing the bidding of the Koch brothers.
The complaint filed with the Senate Ethics Committee accuses Reid of engaging in improper political activity related to his persistent attacks on Charles and David Koch and their associated spending on conservative interests.
"It's been generations since a member of the Senate has abused the power of his office to attack private citizens the way Harry Reid has sought to vilify Charles and David Koch,” Martin said in a statement.
"Reid's repeated and mean-spirited attacks violate federal laws and Senate rules against using taxpayer-funded resources for partisan politics and he knows it, yet he repeatedly takes to the floor of the Senate and the media to attack those with whom he disagrees – and then turns around and devotes the Senate floor to a 'talk-a-thon' on a major donor's key issue of climate change. Harry Reid is abusing his office in pursuit of naked political purposes and it is a gross misuse of his taxpayer-funded office," Martin said.
Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for the Nevada Democrat, fired back in an email.
"We are shocked — shocked! — that a publicity-seeking, extremist Tea Party group which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Koch brothers’ secret bank would attempt a frivolous publicity stunt to distract from the Kochs' efforts to rig the system for billionaires like themselves," Jentleson said. "The shadowy, billionaire Koch brothers are pulling out all the stops to get Senator Reid to stop shining a light on their efforts to buy our democracy, but he will not be silenced."
Senate Democrats led by Reid are seeking to amend the Constitution to allow increased regulation of campaign spending by groups and individuals, a move derided by Republicans as an undue infringement on freedom of speech.
The debate will take center stage again Tuesday morning at the Senate Judiciary Committee when Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., make a rare joint appearance to testify on opposite sides of that issue.