by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A government watchdog group included Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), both potential 2020 presidential candidates, on its newly released list of the “worst ethics violators of 2018.”
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT—which describes its mission as “promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas”—on Monday unveiled the list, which includes both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
In October, FACT filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against Warren and Harris for “improperly soliciting campaign donations.” Specifically, the lawmakers sent fundraising emails before the Senate vote on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The campaign emails listed their officials roles and positions on the ongoing confirmation of Kavanaugh, and also included “Donate Now” and “Contribute” buttons, which were direct requests for campaign donations. FACT argued in its complaint that Senate ethics laws prohibit candidates from promising an official action or legislative work while directly asking for campaign cash. …
… At the time of the complaint, FACT executive director Kendra Arnold slammed Warren and Harris for “tying official congressional action to campaign fundraising.”
“This is a clear violation of the Senate Ethics rules which safeguard against the appearance or actuality of elected officials ‘cashing in’ on their official position for political purposes,” Arnold said.
Warren and Harris have both suggested that they may run for president in 2020.