A self-described nonpartisan government watchdog has named its "worst ethical violators" of 2018.
Who tops the list? Among Democrats, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.).
What are the details?
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust honored the leading Democratic lawmakers with the distinction for soliciting political donations during the fight over Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Warren and Harris vehemently opposed Kavanaugh, feelings they prominently displayed to the Democratic mainstream.
In October, FACT filed an ethics complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Warren and Harris. The group called for an immediate investigation into alleged improper campaign fundraising.
Senators Warren and Harris both sent campaign fundraising emails before the Senate vote on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Specifically, the campaign emails both stated Senators Warren and Harris's official role and positions on the ongoing confirmation hearing and then made direct requests for campaign donations with "DONATE NOW" and "CONTRIBUTE" buttons. Senate ethics laws prohibit candidates from using the promise of official action or legislative work in a direct ask for campaign cash.
Specifically, Senate ethics rules guard against "senators from soliciting campaign contributions based upon any action taken in their official capacity. By linking a promise of official action with campaign contributions, a Senator violates a 'basic principle' of Senate Ethics that guards against conflicts of interest."
Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono (D), the leading anti-Kavanaugh crusader who held tightly to unsubstantiated claims of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, also attempted to fundraise from the political tomfoolery. However, once confronted with the ethical implications of such a decision, Hirono apologized.
As FACT noted, when confronted with the apparent ethics violation, Warran dismissed FACT's complaint as "frivolous."
Was action ever taken against Warren and Harris?
That remains unclear. If so, it was never publicized.
While Warren and Harris were targeted for their improper campaign fundraising, FACT named House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) 2018's "top violators" overall "for failing to adequately protect congressional staff from sexual and other forms of harassment."