Federal Politics

Published — November 6, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Issa committee accused of making ‘sham’ campaign ad

Web video criticizes Obama over state dinners

Introduction

Watchdog groups are accusing a House committee that investigates wasteful government spending of apparently using taxpayer funds to produce a campaign video attacking President Barack Obama.

The video was produced by House Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. The one-minute video criticizes Obama for the cost of state dinners and was posted to the committee’s YouTube channel on Friday. It has made its way through Twitter and conservative blogs over the weekend.

“Spend like he says, not like he does,” the narrator says of the president, as a photo of Obama in a tuxedo holding champagne shares a split screen with dollar bills raining down.

“It is so far beyond the pale. I think it is clearly an ethics violation,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “It is one of the most outrageous abuses of official resources I’ve ever seen.”

CREW plans to file a complaint, Sloan said.

When asked if taxpayer funds were used to create the video, committee spokesman Seamus Kraft said in an email that “the committee’s video presentation is fully consistent with House rules and did not incur any additional taxpayer expenditures for its production.”

According to Paul Ryan, an election law and ethics attorney at the Campaign Legal Center, the video amounts to an “electioneering” campaign ad — it supports or opposes a candidate even though it doesn’t explicitly say vote for or against that candidate.

It falls short only in that it wasn’t broadcast on television.

“It’s a sham issue ad attacking president Obama in the immediate lead-up to a presidential election,” he said. “I don’t think government resources and congressional committees should be in the business of engaging in such actions even if these fall short of a legal definition of what constitutes an express advocacy campaign ad.”

If the ad were aired on television, it would likely need to be reported to the Federal Election Commission, according to Ryan.

Issa, the chairman of the oversight committee, has been an outspoken critic of Obama. Issa requested Friday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton justify the cost of a state dinner for the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon that was featured in the Web video.

The costs of the dinners are attributed to unspecified “documents” in an October article in the Washington Examiner, the Web video’s only source.

Democrats on the committee disavowed the video.

“This is an inappropriate use of committee resources,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

House rules prohibit congressmen and women from using official resources for campaign activities.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.