Watchdog argues Michigan Dem violated House ethics rules by fundraising off controversial floor speech photo
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A government watchdog group argued Tuesday that Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., violated congressional ethics rules by trying to fundraise off a photo showing her speaking from the House floor in a now-viral address that included pink gloves and shouting about the coronavirus response.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed an official complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), arguing that she inappropriately used government resources and her official capacity to solicit campaign donations.
“The ethics rules explicitly prohibit Members from using House floor photographs for campaign purposes and soliciting campaign contributions tied to votes,” FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold said in a press release. “It is important these laws are followed and enforced to protect taxpayers and ensure every vote is taken on its merit and not for political gain.”
The email in question, which came from her campaign’s email account, begins with a photo of Stevens holding the microphone while wearing her pink gloves. “Hello from the Capitol,” a banner reads. It highlights how Stevens voted for the coronavirus relief package that made its way through Congress last week.
“I’m reaching out to make one thing clear: Help is on the way,” the email read. “We will not let you fall through the cracks. We will get through this together.”
At the bottom of the email, Stevens appeared to try and capitalize on the backlash she faced for yelling on the House floor. “Republicans are already attacking Haley for passionately speaking out for her district, calling her ‘unhinged’ and ‘crazy’ for demanding that we listen to public health experts and support working families.”
Stevens was ruled out of order by a Democratic representative who was presiding over the proceedings that day.
“I rise before you adorning these latex gloves not for personal attention, not for personal attention, but to encourage you to take this disease seriously,” Stevens said.
House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer eventually yielded 30 more seconds to Stevens, allowing her to continue her speech. Stevens initially talked over Hoyer as he tried telling her he was going to give her more time.
“Similar times of trying medical need,” she yelled, “wars and flus past — you will see darkness, you will be pushed, and our society needs you to stand together at this time. Our country needs loves you. To our doctors and our nurses, I’m wearing these latex gloves to tell every American to not be afraid.”
Others started yelling as Brown tried recognizing another member of Congress. As he pounded his gavel, Stevens could be heard continuing to yell. “The gentlelady from Michigan is no longer recognized,” Brown said before slamming his gavel again.
Stevens’ office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
In its official complaint, FACT pointed to rules surrounding government resources and using her official capacity to solicit campaign donations.
“In this case, Stevens’ campaign fundraising email demonstrates she is using government resources and legislation to solicit political contributions — a direct contradiction to the House Ethics rules,” the complaint read.
It added: “The photographs of the House floor are funded by taxpayer resources and using these resources for campaigning not only violates a specific House ethics rule, but also ‘the basic principle that government funds should not be spent to help incumbents gain reelection.”