A vulnerable House Democrat is accused of flouting ethics rules by fundraising off of her position on the special committee investigating the Jan. 6. 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Ethics watchdogs told The Washington Times that Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat, may have violated House ethics rules by invoking her work on the panel numerously in fundraising emails.
“House ethics rules clearly forbid members from soliciting campaign contributions linked to any action taken in their official capacity,” said Kendra Arnold, executive director of the conservative Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. “In this case, Rep. Luria‘s campaign emails arguably directly link her attendance at official hearings to an ask for campaign contributions.”
Mrs. Luria’s campaign has sent numerous fundraising emails in recent weeks asking donors to reward her “principled leadership” on the Jan. 6. committee. Most of the solicitations have been coordinated to coincide with direct actions taken by the panel.
For instance, Mrs. Luria‘s campaign sent out an email only hours after the committee held a televised, prime-time hearing to unveil its findings earlier this month.
“Folks, Elaine knows that her constituents care about American democracy — even if the extreme far-right doesn’t. We need principled leadership in Congress,” the email states. “Will you support Elaine — the only member of the January 6th committee running in a swing district — for her toughest fight yet?”
Another email sent out three days made a similar appeal, while invoking Mrs. Luria’s work probing the Jan. 6 incident. That email, in particular, went out as the committee was holding another publicly televised hearing.
“She chose to serve on the January 6th Committee – despite the significant political risk and right-wing attacks — because it’s the right thing to do for our country,” it states. “We need patriotic leadership in Washington, now more than ever. Chip in to help Elaine continue this fight in Congress.”
Ethics watchdogs say the timing and content of the emails are troubling, especially as House ethics rules directly prohibit members of Congress from fundraising off their official duties.
“This is an important rule to ensure that members are acting on merit and not doing something so they can raise campaign contributions,” Mrs. Arnold said.
Neither Mrs. Luria nor the Jan. 6 committee responded to requests for comment.
The fundraising emails were sent out even as Mrs. Luria’s fellow Democrats on the committee skewered former President Trump for purportedly raising money — before and after Jan. 6, 2021 — from claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
“Trump used the lies he told to raise millions of dollars from the American people,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, said during a hearing Monday. “These fundraising schemes were also part of the effort to disseminate the false claims of election fraud.”
The two-term Virginia Democrat is facing a tough challenge this year after her district was made marginally more Republican through reapportionment.
Mrs. Luria’s own party has labeled her as one of the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats seeking reelection this cycle.
“Elaine Luria should be trying to solve the inflation crisis for Virginians, but instead she’s flouting ethics rules to fundraise off a partisan witch hunt,” said Camille Gallo, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.