July 1, 2022

Ethics watchdog calls for investigation of Dem. Rep. Crist

Breitbart News reports that an ethics watchdog just called upon the House Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an investigation into Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL). 

The ethics watchdog is the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). It is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Matthew Whittaker, the individual who served a stint as former President Donald Trump’s acting attorney general.

The allegation is that Crist has abused the House proxy voting process. The reader may remember that, during the coronavirus pandemic, House Democrats enacted proxy voting so that not all representatives have to vote on the floor.

It turns out that, during the period between January and April, Crist voted by proxy over 100 times. He only voted in person 18 times, during this same period, and those 18 votes only took place over a period of four days.

The allegation from FACT is that Crist has been using proxy voting so that he can spend more time on his gubernatorial campaign.

FACT wrote in its complaint to the House Office of Congressional Ethics:

However, contrary to Crist’s statement to the House Clerk, it is evident that the true reason he is voting by proxy and virtually attending committee hearings is unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, the reason is so he can campaign for governor. On days he has voted by proxy, Crist has attended public events for his gubernatorial campaign.

Kendra Arnold, FACT’s executive director, has further accused Crist of failing to fulfill the obligation to “maintain the integrity of government actions.”

Arnold said:

In this case, both public and on the record, evidence leave little room for doubt that Rep. Crist is taking advantage of a rule passed for a national health emergency in attempts to further his political career. The ethics rules function to maintain the integrity of government action, and the Office of Congressional Ethics is responsible for ensuring each Member fulfills the public trust inherent in the office and that they comply with the House’s ethical standards. Unfortunately, in this case Rep. Crist appears to have fallen far short of this standard, therefore, we urge the Board to immediately investigate Rep. Crist for abusing the proxy vote.

It remains to be seen whether the House Office of Congressional Ethics will take up the case.

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