Nebraska Democrats Ask Ethics Office to Review Rep. Bacon Tweets

Tweets violate House Ethics manual, party says

The Nebraska Democratic Party has filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., for alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars for political activity. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic party of Nebraska has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to review Rep. Don Bacon's official Twitter account for political activity.

The request stems from two tweets the Omaha Republican published, one last November and the other in January, criticizing his predecessor, former Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford.

“Time to elect state and local officials who fight to lower taxes... Ashford in Lincoln for 16 years was part of the problem,” Bacon tweeted from his official Congressional Twitter account on Nov. 18 last year in response to a constituent.

On January 22, Bacon took another swipe at Ashford.

“Unlike my predecessor I try best to never miss committee hearings,” he tweeted along with a link to an article about Ashford in the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news publication.

The tweets represent a misuse of official resources, the Nebraska Democratic party has alleged. Official Twitter accounts are covered financially by the Members’ Representational Allowance, federal tax-funded account that members cannot use for political activity.

Don Bacon misused tax dollars when he used his taxpayer funded Twitter account to engage in political activity and smear an opponent,” state party executive director Eric Aspengren said in a statement Thursday. “This misuse of our tax money is a violation of House ethics rules and must be thoroughly investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics.”

Bacon’s office has not been notified by House Ethics of any complaint against the congressman and “therefore have not been able to review it for comment,” spokeswoman Danielle Jensen said Thursday.

Anyone can request that OCE investigate members for ethically questionable activity, but OCE does not comment on such reviews unless they lead to an official House Ethics investigation.

If the office deems a request worthy of further inquiry, it will recommend it to the House Ethics Committee for an investigation.

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