Conservative Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Kihuen

Says freshman legislator inappropriately solicited campaign donations

A conservative watchdog group says Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., mixed touting a congressional accomplishment with a solicitation for money.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A conservative watchdog group has filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Nevada Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, known as FACT, cited a fundraising email from the freshman legislator touting his support for current legislation as well as used Congressional resources, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

In particular, FACT cited an email from Kihuen’s campaign that highlighted his cosponsoring of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act before asking for campaign contributions.

“The public expects, and the rules require, members to take action based upon merit and not in an effort to raise campaign contributions,” FACT wrote. “This type of behavior is precisely why the public distrusts elected officials.”

House ethics rules say that fundraising requests cannot be linked to actions members take in their official capacity. 

FACT also accused Kihuen of using posts from his official Facebook page on his fundraising email, which it said was using the resources of his congressional office.

“These are pretty basic and straightforward ethics rules,” said Kendra Arnold, the group's executive director. “These are the ones that separate campaigns from government work.”

Kihuen’s campaign declined to comment on the letter to the newspaper on Monday.

Last year, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that despite FACT being a transparency group created to be a conservative counterweight to left-of-center ethics groups, the group allows its donors to remain anonymous.

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