Read Our Devin Nunes Ethics Complaint

Omar Ashmawy
Office of Congressional Ethics
U.S. House of Representatives
P.O. Box 895
Washington, DC 20515-0895

Additional request for investigation of possible violation of House Rule XXIII by Rep. Devin Nunes

I am writing to request that the Office of Congressional Ethics (the “OCE”) investigate a further possible violation of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Code of Official Conduct as set out in House Rule XXIII (the “Code”) by Rep. Devin Nunes.
Reporting by McClatchy DC news agency (“Nunes used political dollars for $15K in Celtics tickets, winery tours and Vegas trips,” Kate Irby, July 19, 2018) indicates that Rep. Nunes has violated Clause 6(c) of the Code by virtue of his use of New PAC funds to enable Nunes to watch his favorite basketball team, the Boston Celtics, play live and in-person.

Rule 6 states:

6. A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner—
(a) shall keep the campaign funds of such individual separate from the personal funds of such individual;
(b) may not convert campaign funds to personal use in excess of an amount representing reimbursement for legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures; and
(c) except as provided in clause 1(b) of rule XXIV, may not expend funds from a campaign account of such individual that are not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.

McClatchy reports:

Rep. Devin Nunes used political donations to pay for nearly $15,000 in tickets to Boston Celtics basketball games as well as winery tours and lavish trips to Las Vegas, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission and two nonpartisan watchdog groups.

Nunes, R-Calif., has reportedly been a Celtics fan since high school, though he grew up in Tulare, California. He used the money from his political action committee last year on three occasions to buy tickets.

[…]

Nunes’ PAC spent $7,300 on tickets at TD Garden, home of the Celtics, on Feb. 9, 2017, $5,700 on tickets on April 11, 2017 and $1,588 on tickets on May 8, 2017.

The Celtics had home games within a few days of those purchases. The May date was during playoffs against the Washington Wizards. The PAC also spent $3,594 for a four-star hotel in Boston, the Omni Parker House, on May 8, 2017.

Nunes raises little money from Massachusetts. His campaign fund has received about half of one percent of funding this cycle from Massachusetts and New PAC received one $5,000 donation from the state in this election cycle, from the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance PAC.

It would appear that these trips to watch the Celtics were unnecessary in order for New PAC to raise funds, do not constitute expenditures made for bona fide campaign or political purposes, and primarily served to enable Nunes to satiate his overwhelming desire to watch Celtics home games, live and in person.

As previously noted, Americans’ trust in our institutions, including Congress, is currently low. An important way of redressing this lack of confidence will be to ensure the robust application of the Code, and better ethics in government, starting with Congress itself.

For this reason, OCE should prioritize a review of Rep. Nunes’ expenditures via New PAC, with regard to Boston trips in particular. Such review should be undertaken as swiftly as possible.

Sincerely,