Just hours after two prolific GOP donors with ties to the president’s personal attorney were arrested for campaign finance violations, the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee demanded the Inspector General investigate Federal Election Commission (FEC) Chair Ellen Weintraub.
In a letter to the IG Thursday, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) accused Weintraub of violating federal ethics rules by improperly using the power of her office to further her political agenda.
According to Davis, Weintraub’s primary transgression appears to be publicly disagreeing with President Donald Trump when discussing U.S. elections.
Davis wrote that Weintraub “used official FEC resources to publish her personal opinions on political matters.” He then lists several potential infractions such as Weintraub “requesting that President Trump ‘immediately share his evidence [of alleged voter fraud in New Hampshire] with the public and with the appropriate law-enforecemnt authorities,” and “making public a draft interpretive rule regarding the ban on foreign national participation in elections.”
“When questioned [by Anderson Cooper] about the President’s claims of voter fraud in New Hampshire, Chair Weintraub mentioned her letter to the President,” Davis wrote. “She later said, ‘[there has been] no evidence brought forth at all, and I think it is really damaging to our democracy to have these stories put forth by the leader of our country.’”
Weintraub was also guilty of saying that “the President’s claims are damaging. It’s important that we have facts, not alternative facts or conspiracy theories,” and urged the Senate to take up bipartisan bills to protect U.S. elections.
Davis concludes by stating that the IG should investigate whether Weintraub should recuse herself from all matters involving the President.
In response to Davis’s letter, Weintraub released the following statement:
As a Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, I am acutely aware that our democracy rests on the faith of the American people in the integrity of their elections.
The President of the United States has, without providing evidence, alleged a massive conspiracy to bus thousands of voters from one state to another to cast illegal votes in the 2016 elections.
Any such allegation challenging the legitimacy of federal elections would be of great concern to me. As it happens, this particular allegation falls squarely within the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission, since the expense of these buses has not been accounted for on any campaign-finance filing. Accordingly, I have asked the President for his evidence.
But let there be no doubt: It is absolutely within my official duties as a federal election official to comment publicly on any aspect of the integrity of federal elections in the United States. I will not be silenced.
[image via CNN screengrab]