An ethics watchdog is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for potentially violating federal law and House ethics rules by abusing official resources for political purposes.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed an ethics complaint with the ethics office, asking for an investigation into Omar’s use of the Chinese social media app TikTok to determine if her account violates House rules and abused official resources for political purposes.
The popular Chinese social media app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd, has been banned on United States government devices — when a provision was added to the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill President Joe Biden signed into law — for being a potential national security problem. And lawmakers are looking to ban TikTok entirely in the United States over many significant concerns over the app’s ability.
FACT noted that despite warnings not to use TikTok over the risk of the Chinese government being able to see data, Omar has allegedly been using the same TikTok account for both official House and political purposes, which would be a violation of House Ethics rules.
The complaint explained some of the content seen on the congresswoman’s account, where she is described as the“Congresswoman for #MN05”:
She has made overtly political posts, including a video of her urging viewers to support Democrat candidates, a message to Democrats volunteering for campaigns, and several videos of her campaigning and attending campaign events. Along with this political content, she has also made posts that used official government resources, including C-SPAN footage from the House floor, what appears to be a cell phone video recorded on the House floor, and an interview from what appears to be in her House office. [Emphasis added.]
FACT explained the Federal laws and House ethics rules that require there to be a strict divide between campaign and official acts, such as members being “prohibited from using official resources for campaign purposes” and members being “prohibited from using campaign funds for official purposes.”
Due to these rules, FACT noted that the TikTok account abuses government resources because there is official and political content posted, in addition to official video recorded on the House floor, which the watchdog says could be another violation of the ethics rules.
“These violations are disturbing and clearly not how members are supposed to be using official resources,” said FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold. “The law is abundantly clear, and her account and the content posted speak for themselves. These rules are to protect the time, resources, and integrity of official proceedings for those in elected office.”
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.