Cory Gardner - Already Violating House Ethics Rules (updated)
[UPDATE] He cleaned his site up yesterday afternoon to remove the offending links to his campaign materials from his official site. At least his staff responded quickly.
While touting his commitment to cutting wasteful spending, Cory Gardner is violating House Ethics Rules that prohibit the use of official resources or campaign or political purposes. Gardner is using his official House website to promote his campaign's Twitter Account and to link to articles about his participation in Republican fundraisers in the District.
Maybe we can just mark this in the "Mistakes by inexperienced beginners" column rather than in the "insidious violations" column, but I think the Ethics rules are there for a purpose. And Gardner is already violating those rules. Surely nothing will come of it; there's won't be hearings or anything, but I think this needs to be brought to people's attention.
The House Ethics Rule has a General Prohibition Against Using Official Resources for Campaign or Political Purposes, which reads in relevant part:
Member and Committee Websites. Under rules issued by the Committee on House Administration set forth in the Members‘ Handbook and the Committees‘ Handbook, Member and Committee websites –
- May not include personal, political, or campaign information; and
- May not be directly linked or refer to websites created or operated by a campaign or any campaign-related entity, including political parties and campaign committees.
"May not be directly linked... to websites created or operated by a campaign..." You see that bit in there? Cory Gardner's official Website, under the heading "Social Media" links directly to his RepCory Twitter account (See Screenshot if he changes his site). This account is also linked to directly from his campaign website, right off the main page. @repcory is an account Gardner used throughout his campaign and if you look back before he took office still has a great deal of campaign information.
Since he took office, @repcory has taken on more of an official feel, but there's been several links to campaign-type political events, including Republican Party fundraisers in several counties. If he now claims that @repcory magically changed from a campaign account to a non-campaign account, then he's promoting fundraisers from his official twitter account. Either way, Gardner is using his official website to promote campaign materials.
The second point of interest is in his website's Media Center under "In The News" where he links to all the news articles that are nice to him. Amazing to me is that the first linked article on the website is from the Fort Morgan Times from February 27, 2011, titled "Republicans raise funds, celebrate presidents of the past." I don't know if linking to articles about fund raising is legal or not, but it sure doesn't seem appropriate. Click here for a screenshot of the offending website.
Less than two months in office and Cory Gardner is already violating House Ethics Rules. I think we'll need to keep a vigilant eye on him in this arena...