Congressional Ethics Gripe Moving Forward, Sort of

Omaha, NE.—Congressional ethics experts know that Republican Congressman Don Bacon is accused of misusing tax dollars, but won’t confirm or deny an investigation.

As News Channel Nebraska first reported the Omaha area incumbent is under fire for a “smear” campaign and playing politics on his official Congressional Twitter account in “blatant disregard” for longstanding rules, according to both a 3-page letter and statement from the Nebraska Democratic Party.

According to a letter from the Office of Congressional Ethics (see below) to the NDP, an investigation may or may not be underway and all investigations are confidential. The letter adds that if the charges are referred to the House Ethics Committee that referral is likely to be made public. There is no indication when any action might occur.

According to House regulations, Members of Congress are prohibited from using official resources—those paid for by taxpayers— for any political activity. The political games are reserved for, among other things, a Congressman’s private Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The complaint specifically cites two Tweets (both below).

The latest one from January 22nd accused former Congressman Brad Ashford, who is looking to challenge Bacon in November, of missing votes when Ashford was in Congress.

The House Ethics Committee is also told of a November 18 Tweet which says it’s time to elect state and local officials who prioritize lower taxes.  According to the Tweet, Bacon specifically adds that, “Ashford (a former state senator) in Lincoln for 16 years was part of the problem.”The complaint, signed by NDP Executive Director Eric Aspengren, citing the House Ethics Manual says the misuse of official resources are “a very serious matter” that undermines the credibility of the House of Representatives.

A spokesperson for Bacon tells News Channel Nebraska they have not been notified by House Ethics about the complaint and “and therefore have not been able to review it for comment.”

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