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EXCLUSIVE: Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan is under fire for allegedly violating House ethics rules in his bid for one of Ohio’s U.S. Senate seats.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Ryan on Tuesday.
The government watchdog says the Ohio Democrat and his campaign communications director may have violated ethics rules by using footage from the House floor in his Senate campaign.
FACT’s complaint claims that Ryan’s Senate campaign and his communications director used images from House floor proceedings on social media.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan answers a question during Ohio’s U.S. Senate Democratic primary debate on March 28, 2022, at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)
“The law is clear: a member of Congress cannot use any House or Senate floor footage for campaign purposes,” said Kendra Arnold, the group’s executive director. “Furthermore, under the ethics rules, each member is responsible for their campaign and their staff.”
A spokesperson for Ryan’s campaign told Fox News Digital the ethics complaint was politically motivated.
“These meritless claims are nothing but a ham-handed attempt by Washington Republicans to change the subject to literally anything other than JD Vance’s embarrassment of a campaign or his disgraceful sham nonprofit whose only accomplishment was bringing a Purdue Pharma shill to Ohio,” Ryan’s campaign said.
Ryan’s campaign Twitter account in late July shared an image by a C-SPAN producer of legislation failing on the Senate floor. The bill, which would expand health benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, was backed by Ryan.
“I was proud to cosponsor this bill named for Ohio’s own [Sergeant First Class] Heath Robinson,” Ryan’s campaign wrote. “Now, our effort to get lifesaving care to military members has died in the Senate with a majority of votes. The Senate is broken. Every day this bill stalls is an insult to our vets and their families.”
House ethics rules state that a member cannot use photographs or videos from floor proceedings for political purposes. In adjudicating prior cases, the House Ethics Committee has found that prohibition extends to members reusing images of floor proceedings published by a third party.
Ryan, a 10-term congressman, is running to replace Ohio’s retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. His candidacy has largely centered around his populist message and work on Capitol Hill for constituents and for congressional staff.
The Ohio Democrat, for instance, has touted his work to expand benefits for Congressional staffers as chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the legislative branch.
Rep. Tim Ryan meditating in his office. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Tim Ryan’s office)
The communications director on Ryan’s senate campaign, Izzi Levy, has highlighted such efforts on social media, using photos and videos from the congressman’s speeches on the House floor.
In late July, Levy shared several images and videos of Ryan speaking in favor of legislation to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing and another bill that shores up the pension plans of former employees of Delphi auto parts.
FACT claims the sharing of such floor videos by Ryan’s communications director also violates House ethics rules.
“He is responsible for his campaign’s actions and, as the House ethics manual explains, a member cannot indirectly do what he is directly prohibited from doing,” said Arnold.
This is not the first time that Ryan’s conduct has been criticized. Last month, the Ohio lawmaker was accused of abusing the House proxy voting system to allow him to campaign for the Senate.
Haris Alic covers Congress and politics for Fox News Digital. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @realharisalic.