News · Press Release

DCCC Files Ethics Complaint Against Minority Whip Scalise Over Manipulated Video

Scalise altered a video of Activist Ady Barkan and Speaker Pelosi in an attempt to deceive voters

Following Minority Whip Steve Scalise deliberately altering and releasing videos of activist Ady Barkan and Speaker Pelosi, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed an ethics complaint to hold House Republican leadership accountable for abusing taxpayer dollars to spread disinformation through his official twitter handle ahead of the November general election.

The DCCC’s letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics states the following:

Representative Scalise’s conduct flies in the face of express guidance, issued by the House Ethics Committee in January, that warned Members not to do precisely what he did. By ignoring the Committee’s direct instructions, taking advantage of an unelected citizen’s disability, abusing official resources for political purposes, and continuing to justify his outrageous conduct, Representative Scalise has brought discredit on the U.S. House of Representatives and violated multiple laws, rules and standards of conduct.

The ethics complaint seeks to ensure that House Republicans abide by House Ethics rules, per a letter sent to members, officers and employees this January which clearly states that members, officers, and employees who post fake information with the intention of misleading the public may be in violation of the Code of Official Conduct.

Whip Scalise’s foray into disinformation is not new for House Republicans. As a reminder, in January the NRCC was criticized by CNN Host Jake Tapper for deceptively editing video to smear Vice President Biden. In the same month, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar was also widely criticized for disseminating a fake photo of President Obama shaking hands with Iran’s president and Rep. Elise Stefanik doctored a photo of Speaker Pelosi to raise money for her campaign. It’s clear that House Republicans view disinformation as another ‘tactic,’ yet the reality is that the spread of disinformation and manipulation of online content is a serious threat against the integrity of our nation’s democratic electoral system.

Statement from DCCC Executive Director Lucinda Guinn:

“Minority Whip Scalise used taxpayer resources to deceive voters. He needs to be held accountable for that. Our elections are already under attacks from hostile nations and Republicans in their party’s leadership should be fighting disinformation in our elections, not actively spreading lies. House Democrats will keep fighting against purveyors of disinformation in our elections, foreign or domestic.”

Read Full Ethics Complaint Here



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