A tea party group charges that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have broken Senate rules with his repeated attacks on billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
The Tea Party Patriots
filed a complaint Monday with the Senate Ethics Committee,
accusing the Nevada Democrat of "unlawfully and unethically targeting private citizens," alleging he's "misused Senate staff or resources to engage in partisan campaign activity in violation of federal laws and Senate rules."
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Reid's action, the complaint says, "is a blatant example of a powerful Washington figure deciding that it is his prerogative to bring the full weight of his office against private citizens or organizations with whom he disagrees."
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin says federal-level targeting of conservatives has got to stop.
"After having been targeted by the IRS for several years and seeing the truly chilling effects the IRS has had on speech and the First Amendment, we're seeing the same thing happen with Sen. Reid and [Rhode Island Democratic] Sen. [Sheldon] Whitehouse," she told Business Insider
Her group also filed a complaint against Whitehouse, Business Insider notes.
Reid has slammed
the Koch brothers on the Senate floor for funding attack ads against Democratic candidates, accusing them of trying to "buy America,"
and also has criticized them on his Senate website
Americans for Prosperity
, a group backed by the Kochs, is plunking down $125 million on the midterm elections to help Republicans win a Senate majority.
"It's been generations since a member of the Senate has abused the power of his office to attack private citizens the way Harry Reid has sought to vilify Charles and David Koch," Martin told The Hill
She called Reid's critiques "nothing more than a continuation of the thuggish intimidation campaign mounted by the Obama administration to target and silence people and organizations Democrats disagree with."
Some of the complaint's criticism echoes a complaint filed by the Republican Party of Louisiana
Reid's spokesman dismissed Monday's complaint.
"We are shocked — shocked! — that a publicity-seeking, extremist tea party group which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Koch brothers' secret bank would attempt a frivolous publicity stunt to distract from the Kochs' efforts to rig the system for billionaires like themselves," Adam Jentleson, Sen. Reid's communication director, told The Hill.
"The shadowy, billionaire Koch brothers are pulling out all the stops to get Sen. Reid to stop shining a light on their efforts to buy our democracy, but he will not be silenced."
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