A watchdog group filed a Senate ethics complaint Monday against Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren for sending out fundraising emails asking for donations to support their votes against Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh — even before they cast their votes against him.
While voting and then asking supporters to back that decision with cash is common, the watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), says asking for money ahead of time crosses the line into vote-buying.
FACT asked the Senate ethics committee to probe fundraising emails sent by Ms. Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, and Ms. Harris, California Democrat.
Ms. Warren’s email said she was demanding a delay on the judge’s confirmation vote and asked for donations for her 2018 election campaign, while Ms. Harris’s emails detailed several of her actions as a member of the Judiciary Committee, including her questioning of the president’s pick for the high court, and asking for contributions.
The Senate’s rules prohibit senators “cashing in” on using their official positions for personal gain.
FACT said that linking a promise of official action with campaign contributions violates that principle.
“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,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of FACT.
Spokespersons for Ms. Harris and Ms. Warren didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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