New York, New York- U.S. Senate candidate Chele Farley (R, C, Reform) today slammed her opponent Kirsten Gillibrand for using taxpayer dollars to host a campaign-style rally disguised as a town hall.
“It’s a disgrace. The Albany Times Union coverage says it all: ‘Gillibrand calls to win back Congress’ for an event that ‘doubled as one of her promised town halls and a campaign rally,’” said Farley.
Farley added, “I pledge, if elected to the Senate, to push for the adoption of strict rules against abusing taxpayer dollars for events like Senator Gillibrand's campaign rally yesterday.”
The event, which was billed by Hudson Valley Community College and the Senator’s own office as “Town Hall Meeting with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand” was an official U.S Senate event. The Times Union accurately described the event as both a town hall and campaign rally.
During the town hall Gillibrand repeatedly campaigned, urging attendees to vote and “flip” Congress.
The House of Representatives has strict rules against franked mailing and communications 90 days before an election. The Senate has far more relaxed rules and Senator Gillibrand took advantage of them.
According to the House Committee on Ethics:
General Prohibition Against Using Official Resources for Campaign or Political Purposes Official resources of the House must, as a general rule, be used for the performance of official business of the House, and hence those resources may not be used for campaign or political purposes. The laws and rules referenced in this section reflect “the basic principle that government funds should not be spent to help incumbents gain reelection.
What are the “official resources” to which this basic rule applies? Certainly the funds appropriated for Member, committee, and other House offices are official resources, as are the goods and services purchased with those funds. Accordingly, among the resources that generally may not be used for campaign or political purposes are congressional office equipment (including the computers, telephones, and fax machines), office supplies (including official stationery and envelopes), and congressional staff time.Among the specific activities that clearly may not be undertaken in a congressional office or using House resources (including official staff time) are the solicitation of contributions; the drafting of campaign speeches, statements, press releases or literature; the completion of FEC reports; the creation or issuance of a campaign mailing; and the holding of a meeting on campaign business. The same prohibition applies to any activity that is funded to any extent with campaign funds, even if the activity is not overtly political in nature.
Farley also pledged to modernize Senate rules to require members to file campaign reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission. Current rules provide for paper copies of campaign reports to the Senate Clerk which darkens transparency.
Concluded Farley, “Kirsten Gillibrand has no record of accomplishment and doesn’t work for New Yorkers, she only campaigns. She should be campaigning on her own dime, not the taxpayers'.”