Hinson Using Official Government Resources To Conduct Grassroots Lobbying In Violation Of The Law

DES MOINES — Today, the Iowa Democratic Party filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics against Ashley Hinson for violating federal law and misusing official government resources for lobbying efforts.

As the House of Representatives considers a petition to count all of the outstanding ballots in Iowa’s neighboring Second Congressional District, Hinson has publicly expressed her opposition to a request by Rita Hart to have all the votes in that district counted, and used her official media accounts on January 6, January 7, January 12, and January 14 — in some cases from government buildings — to lobby others to take action and join her in opposition.

Hinson’s use of social media directly violates federal code 31 U.S.C. § 1301(a) and the House of Representatives Ethics Manual, which says that “official resources of the House must . . . be used for the performance of official business of the House, and hence . . . may not be used for campaign or political purposes.” The Committee on House Administration’s Members’ Congressional Handbook also explicitly says that a Member may not use the Member’s official social media account to conduct “grassroots lobbying or solicit support for a Member’s position.”

The use of both Hinson’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts and the time employed by her taxpayer-funded staff constitute an official resource. Her use of those resources to solicit support from the general public for her opposition to an outstanding contest petition in a neighboring congressional district is against the law and should be quickly investigated by the House Ethics Committee.

“After less than two weeks on the job, Ashley Hinson is already breaking the law and abusing the office Iowa voters entrusted to her. Rep. Hinson’s use of taxpayer resources for political and lobbying efforts is a clear violation of the law and represents everything Iowa voters hate most about Washington,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Mark Smith. “The House Ethics Committee should quickly investigate this matter and Rep. Hinson should be disciplined accordingly.”