A former federal prosecutor is hurling rocks at a few glass houses that he calls the “hypocrisy caucus” of several congressional Democrats.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said during a Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman debate on CNN Wednesday he wants to impeach the president, or at least says he does as a way to fire up his base.
“Elizabeth Warren is one of the biggest hypocrites in the Senate, probably the leader of the hypocrisy caucus in the Senate.”
“Donald Trump has already done a number of things which legitimately raise the question of impeachment,” Ellison said, though he only named the Emoluments Clause. The clause applies in theory if Trump’s businesses — such as his Washington hotel— profit in any way from a foreign government or foreign official. But it’s an obscure law typically relegated as a debating point for law reviews.
“He is calling for the impeachment now of the president while at the same time, he’s got his own ethical challenges and probably going to be head of the DNC soon,” Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, told LifeZette.
Whitaker is now the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT, which filed a complaint against Ellison with the Office of Congressional Ethics in December. The complaint alleges Ellison used his official House Twitter account to promote his candidacy for chairman of the DNC.
“This is completely unethical and illegal and is a basic non-no. You can’t put your political stuff on your House website and he did,” Whitaker said.
Members of Congress are not allowed to use official resources, including a website or social media account, for campaign or political purposes.
The complaint says Ellison’s tweets “have included nearly every type of explicitly prohibited content-campaign and political information, links to his campaign website and advocacy for grassroots organizing and his positions.”
Another progressive leading the charge against Trump and nearly all of his cabinet nominees has been Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). She has attacked Trump’s nominees for having alleged conflicts of interest.
Warren said she’s running for re-election in 2018 to stop “Donald Trump and his team of billionaires, bigots and Wall Street bankers.”
FACT points out that Warren has a cozy relationship with a left-wing think tank, Better Markets, that could produce her own conflicts of interest. Better Markets is funded almost entirely multi-millionaire hedge-fund manager Michael Master, National Review first reported. Neither Better Markets nor Warren disclosed the relationship, as Warren was invited to be a keynote speaker for the group, and wrote a testimonial for its website.
“Elizabeth Warren is one of the biggest hypocrites in the Senate, probably the leader of the hypocrisy caucus in the Senate,” Whitaker said in an interview. “She just goes after people she disagrees with, mostly in financial services industry, and at the same time, she has a very cozy relationship with those who share her viewpoint."
Whitaker said Warren is "very comfy and cozy" with Better Markets. He said the Massachusetts senator is "praising, keynote addressing and doing other things for this Better Markets ... while at the same time she is excoriating some of the conservative think tanks."
In January, FACT also filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who said Trump was not a legitimate president.
The complaint alleges Lewis improperly allowed his chief of staff Michael Collins to also serve as the treasurer for his campaign. The complaint states, “House Ethics rules impose significant limitations on outside employment” for congressional staff, including prohibiting staff from “paid board service, including serving on ‘campaign organizations.’”
A leave of absence is typically required. In limited cases where duel employment is allowed, the salary is capped at $27,255. But Collins earned slightly more, $27,495, on Lewis’ campaign, according to FACT.
Whitaker also notes Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – who staunchly opposed confirmation of several Trump nominees and leaked a private conversation he had with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorscuh – previously misled the public to believe he served in the Vietnam War, as first reported in 2010 by the New York Times.
“Blumenthal is someone who will do anything and say anything to get elected,” Whitaker said. “He overstated his military service and that was offensive to many veterans from the Vietnam War generation.”