The GOP’s web of corruption seems to have no limits. In a clear violation of Ethics Rules, Congressional Republicans are now selling donors access to senators and representatives and their campaign staff in exchange for campaign contributions, The Intercept reported Thursday.
The bribery scheme was orchestrated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). The groups are advertising to donors that they will get invitations to events with congressional staff such as chiefs of staff, leadership staffers and committee staffers, the report said, citing documents it and the Center for Media and Democracy obtained.
Ethics rules bars campaigns from using House and Senate resources in any way and says that employees on Capitol Hill can’t take part in fundraising as part of their official activities.
“You can’t use resources that are paid for by the taxpayer to service campaign donors. That’s blatantly illegal,” said Caroline Fredrickson, the former chief of staff to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
House ethics rules say official resources of the House “may not be used for campaign of political purposes,” saying the rules reflect “the basic principle that government funds should not be spent to help incumbents gain reelection.”
Documents obtained by the Intercept from the NRSC show that for $1,500 a year, one can receive “Invitation to attend events with Republican Chiefs of Staff, Leadership Staff, and Committee staff.”
According to a document from the NRCC, for a $5,000 annual contribution, members can get invitations to attend briefings by the NRCC political team and “House Leadership Staff.”
“It’s the blatant buying and selling of access,” Michael Beckel, the research manager at IssueOne, a campaign finance reform group, told the Intercept.
“Congressional staffers, paid by the taxpayers, don’t have carte blanche ability to participate in political fundraising,” Beckel said. “A reasonable person could easily conclude that this selling of access would be prohibited under congressional ethics rules.”
In other words, this is a clear case of “political bribery.”