On May 11, 2017, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics of the United States House of Representatives regarding Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
Nature of the Review
In June 2016, Representative Luján requested that his congressional campaign committee issue communications during a “sit-in” demonstration. The committee issued emails stating Representative Luján was on the House floor at the time the emails were sent. One of the emails specifically requested a campaign contribution and contained an image of the House floor. If Representative Luján conducted campaign or political activity from the House floor, solicited a campaign contribution from a federal building, or used an image of a House floor proceeding for campaign or political purposes, then he may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.
The Board recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the above allegation because there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Luján conducted campaign or political activity from the House floor, solicited a campaign contribution from a federal building, or used an image of a House floor proceeding for campaign or political purposes.
On August 1, 2017 the Committee on Ethics released a report concluding it did not find that Representative Luján engaged in campaign or political activity, or solicited campaign contributions from the House Floor or any other federal building. The Committee did find that Representative Luján’s campaign consultant used an image of House proceedings in a campaign communication in violation of House Rule V, clause 2(c)(1). The committee cautioned Members to take steps to ensure their campaign committees or consultants comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. The committee also reminded Members that subject to very limited exceptions, they may not conduct campaign or political activity from a House building, whether hallway, office, or cafeteria, and thus, they may not draft, edit, or send campaign communications, or direct the drafting, editing, or sending of such communications, from a House building. This rule, which is embodied in federal law, applies even where the Member is using a personal or campaign communications device, and even if they are not using the House internet system.