House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi may have violated congressional ethics rules at a Capitol press conference Thursday, when she made a remark that could be considered a request for campaign contributions, The Hill
At a briefing to promote a campaign finance disclosure bill, Pelosi said she was “asking people to contribute to us, if they want to elect more reformers to Congress.”
The House ethics regulation she may have violated forbids members of Congress from soliciting campaign donations in House office buildings, including the Capitol Visitor Center, where Pelosi was speaking. A provision of the U.S. criminal code also prohibits fundraising in federal buildings.
Pelosi’s comments came after she was asked about President Barack Obama’s decision to encourage donations to a super PAC backing his re-election effort and whether super PACs helping the president and House Democrats should reveal who gives money to them.
“Absolutely,” Pelosi responded. “The president made a decision, which I think was a wise one, that he was not going to unilaterally leave the field to the Koch brothers to decide who would be president of the United States and who would control the Congress. And his commitment was for full disclosure.”
The timing was propitious, Pelosi said. “It affords us the opportunity to say to you that the Democrats in their fundraising will be fully disclosing,” she said. “And, by the way, we’re asking people to contribute to us, if they want to elect more reformers to Congress.”
Pelosi’s statement probably falls just short of an ethics violation, Craig Holman, an advocate for campaign finance reform at Public Citizen, told The Hill.
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