Just before the inauguration, Representative John Lewis made headlines when he launched a bitter feud against Donald Trump by saying he was not a “legitimate president.” Now, Lewis has been hit with a nasty dose of karma for this ridiculous statement.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that a conservative watchdog group ethics officials to investigate Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.) and his chief of staff for violating House ethics rules. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust announced this in a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics calling on them to probe Lewis chief of staff Michael Collins’ for two roles in the congressman’s Washington office and as the treasurer for his 2016 reelection campaign.
Senior House staff are barred by ethics rules from serving in any fiduciary role for a political organization. The rules specifically mention campaign treasurers as a role that staffers can’t serve in. The watchdog group wants both Lewis and Collins held accountable for this.
“In this case, not only did Collins directly violate these rules, but Representative Lewis also violated the ethics rules because his own campaign employed Collins in a prohibited position and paid him a prohibited salary,” FACT wrote in its letter to OCE.
Collins has previously been sanctioned by the House Ethics Committee for failing to disclose or pay taxes on more than $50,000 in income from Lewis’ campaigns.
Though he has been paid for campaign work going back to 2002, Collins did not serve as treasurer until 2016. Over the last four years, Collins’ income was exactly or almost exactly the limit for senior staff outside income set by House ethics officials for those years.
“The outside employment ethics rules are based on fundamental and important principals that require enforcement to maintain the public’s trust,” FACT wrote on its complaint. “Therefore, we urge the Board to immediately investigate and take appropriate action in response to this violation of the House Ethics Rules.”
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