August 1, 2017

Committee clears Luján on ethics complaint

Official photo of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

The U.S. House Committee on Ethics unanimously dismissed an ethics complaint against Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

The committee made the announcement Tuesday, and a spokesman for Luján praised the decision shortly after. In a statement, Joe Shoemaker said the allegations came from a “ politically motivated complaint, filed by a partisan outside group.” He added that Luján is “committed to abiding by House Rules and will continue to do so in the future.”

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a conservative group, complained that Luján conducted campaign or political activity from the House floor, which is prohibited, after he sent a  fundraising email highlighting a sit-in he participated in on the House floor in 2016. During that sit-in, Democrats demanded a vote on legislation barring those on the federal no-fly list from legally purchasing guns. .

The report from the Ethics Committee that announced the dismissal said members “did not find that Representative Luján engaged in campaign or political activity, or solicited campaign contributions, from the House floor or any other federal building.”

The report did state that a campaign consultant for Luján “used an image of the House proceedings from the House recording system in a campaign communication, which was an inadvertent, technical violation” of a House rule. The image  came from an Associated Press article, which the wire service took from the House Broadcast network. The committee said since Luján hadn’t directed the use of the image, nor even known about it before the mailer was sent out, the congressman had not violated ethics rules.

The Ethics Committee added that House rules on the use of electronic communications could use more clarification.