Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Democratic Party makes ethics complaint about Tom Cotton

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 6:35 AM

click to enlarge REGULAR GUEST: Tom Cotton appears often on Hugh Hewitt's right-wing radio show. On one occasion, he stepped over an ethical line, Democrats charge.
  • REGULAR GUEST: Tom Cotton appears often on Hugh Hewitt's right-wing radio show. On one occasion, he stepped over an ethical line, Democrats charge.
The Arkansas Democratic Party will have a news conference today to talk about its complaint to the Office of Professional Ethics that U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton may have conducted a radio interview that included an appeal for campaign support while at the U.S. Capitol Sept. 30. He has said he stepped outside with his phone during three interviews with right-wing radio talker Hugh Hewitt, who said repeatedly without correction by Cotton that Cotton was in the House cloak room. Hewitt said later he must have been mistaken. Democrats say there's "substantial reason to believe" that Cotton violated House rules by using public resources for political activity.

The House was in session at the time, holding a series of votes that led to the government shutdown.

Here's the full complaint. It details the backpedaling done by Hewitt and Cotton's staff when national attention focused on Cotton's campaign appeal during the day of House activity. Rules for staff note that they must not discuss campaign matters from congressional offices and must do so on their own time.

These principles apply no less to the Members themselves. Congressman Cotton appears to have flagrantly violated them, by taking a campaign interview from the Capitol. He cannot claim that Mr. Hewitt's inquiry about his fundraising was "incidental," when it was the very first question he was asked, and when he converted it into a blatant appeal for campaign funds.

There is substantial reason to believe also that Congressman Cotton, by making his fundraising appeal from the Capitol, violated a federal criminal law that makes it unlawful for "Members of Congress, to solicit or receive a donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a Federal, State, or local election, while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties ..." 

The Committee on Ethics warns Members that this prohibition "is very broad." "The statute by its terms applies to the House office buildings, the Capitol, and district offices." Id. With an exception for Member-to-Member solicitations not implicated here, "the prohibition applies to all forms of solicitations – solicitations made in person, over the telephone, or through the mail ... A telephone solicitation from a House office or building would not be permissible merely because the call is billed to a credit card of a political organization or to an outside telephone number, or because it is made using a cell phone in the hallway."

As for the excuse that Hewitt was in error, the complaint says:

Finally, the Congressman's disavowals, through staff, of Mr. Hewitt's statements — "He isn't responsible for correcting Hugh's misstatements about his location" — show a fundamental misunderstanding of his obligations under House Rules. It is the Congressman, not Mr. Hewitt, who must "conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House." House Rule 23, Clause 1. Even if the Congressman were on his way out the Capitol door while making his fundraising pitch over Mr. Hewitt's airwaves, as his staff says he was, he was obliged nonetheless to avoid the impression that he allowed Mr. Hewitt to create.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas Supreme Court denies rehearing in death penalty challenge, but delays mandate

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today refused to rehear the case denying Death Row inmates information about drugs used by the state in the lethal injection process.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

    Layoffs at the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock are a reminder of the folly of corporate welfare and the inability of Arkansas to separate itself from global economic forces. See the Fayetteville shale. And keep a watchful eye on that Sun Paper pulp mill proposed near Arkadelphia.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Hamburg bank manager gets 21 months for theft

    Melinda Gwin, 49, of Hamburg has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $210,875 stolen from the First National Bank of Crossett. She was sentenced in El Dorado federal court, according to a Justice Department news release.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Homicide victim identified as TC Edwards, local musician

    Little Rock police are still withholding identification of a man found shot to death early Sunday on Howard Street, but multiple reports on social media are tying the death to that of a well-known figure on the local music scene, TC Edwards. The suspect in a criminal case brought over crimes against Edwards will likely be reviewed for potential involvement in his death.
    • Dec 8, 2014
  • Father and son turned away from "Muslim-free" Hot Springs gun range for being brown

    A college student and his dad who visited a gun range over the weekend for some bonding time over target practice were told to leave after the owner grew suspicious that the pair were...Muslims! Nope, not Muslims — they just happened to not be white. Either way, though, it's rank discrimination.
    • Jan 13, 2015
  • Figures lie, liars figure: Judicial pay raise request built on hokum

    The independent citizens commission that will soon set pay raises for stater elected officials and judges heard a plea for a pay raise today from a former Republican senator. It was a load of garbage.
    • Jan 14, 2015

Most Shared

  • New book documents the work of visionary instrument-maker Ed Stilley

    Ed Stilley is one of those special, extraordinary visionaries who are driven to create. In Stilley's case, God was the driver and He told Stilley in 1979 to build acoustic  instruments for children.
  • Best of Arkansas 2016

    Readers elect their favorites.
  • Hillary hit jobs

    It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do a bang-up job. Getting elected, however, might prove more difficult.
  • These Hogs won't be thin

    This may be the strongest returning receiving corps that the Razorbacks have fielded in the post-Petrino days.
  • Trump-Putin 2016

    Among the thousand bizarre aspects of the presidential campaign has been the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin axis.

Most Viewed

  • The Saturday line

    It's a day of domestic projects for the Times crew. We'll try to check in later, but for now here's an open line.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The Voter Roll Screw-Up Edition

    • I thought Hillary gave Bernie his props. She said basically that she and Bernie wrote…

    • on July 30, 2016
  • Re: The Saturday line

    • It's a little ironic to me that Trump, who claims to have such disdain for…

    • on July 30, 2016
  • Re: The Saturday line

    • The Orange One is already looking for ways to weasel out of debates with HRC…

    • on July 30, 2016

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation