Alan Grayson simply doesn’t get it: mixing a campaign with his official duties in Congress is a violation of ethics rules.
Because if he does “get it,” how will Grayson explain his latest campaign ad?
The Orlando congressman, in a new TV commercial for his U.S. Senate campaign, offers testimonials from high-profile liberals such as Michael Moore and Martin Sheen, plugging his “courage and leadership,” as well as a propensity to “speak his mind.”
So far, so good.
Also featured in the 30-second spot are MSNBC hosts Ed Schultz and Chris Hayes, who calls Grayson “one of the outspoken, dogged, and at times, extremely effective members of Congress.” Schultz describes Grayson as a “progressive warrior.”
With a budget of only $6,700, the ad ran briefly in four Florida markets: Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
Most of the ad is standard campaign fare, and not particularly noteworthy, even though the endorsements from Sheen and Moore are several years old. Both were taken from Grayson’s House campaign nearly six years ago.
But at the 18-second mark, the ad gets really interesting.
That is the point where Grayson – to promote his Senate bid – uses an MSNBC clip of him speaking during a congressional hearing – yet another violation of U.S. House rules.
Grayson runs afoul of ethics rules on the use of official resources for campaign or political purposes, namely House Rule 11, Clause 4(b), which explicitly states: “[Radio] and television tapes and film of any coverage of House committee proceedings may not be used, or made available for use, as partisan political campaign material to promote or oppose the candidacy of any person for public office.”
Granted, the clip is only seconds long. Blink and you may miss it. And in most cases, a candidate could explain it away as a mere oversight.
But this is Alan Grayson, and his ad becomes just one more in an ever-lengthening list of campaign violations for using his taxpayer-funded Congressional office.
What’s more, these shenanigans have been going on longer than Grayson’s actual Senate campaign.
For example, before announcing his bid, Grayson sent a press release from his official office attacking his rival Patrick Murphy, who he planned to challenge for the Democratic nomination.
In declaring his run for Marco Rubio’s soon-to-be-vacated seat, Grayson also conducted an early campaign interview from his House office, which a spokesperson later attributed to “a hectic day.”
Likewise, in September, Grayson did a campaign interview with the Nicole Sandler RadioShow from the House, where he openly stated, “That buzzing you heard in the background a couple of minutes ago is the notice that votes have started.” Incredibly, Grayson continued with what amounted to a mea culpa: “Yes, so votes have started here in the House.”
It is clear that Grayson’s ethical lapses are no longer isolated incidents, something to be blamed on a busy schedule or simple misunderstandings.
They have now become a consistent pattern of willful, brazen disregard for the rules, which also begs the question, “What excuse he will use this time?”