By Ryan Miner
A former congressional staffer who worked for Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1) told A Miner Detail that Harris staffers routinely conducted political activity inside of Harris’ taxpayer-funded congressional offices. The former staffer asked not to be named in this report.
The Harris aide claimed that a few members of Harris’ congressional staff routinely conducted fundraising calls and campaign business using the resources of Harris’ congressional offices. The aide also claimed they witnessed press-related campaign activities taking place inside a Harris congressional office
According to House Ethics Manual listed online,
The misuse of the funds and other resources that the House of Representatives entrusts to Members for the conduct of official House business is a very serious matter. Depending on the circumstances, such conduct may result in not only disciplinary action by the House, but also criminal prosecution. Moreover, while any House employee who makes improper use of House resources is subject to disciplinary action by the Committee on Ethics, each Member should be aware that he or she may be held responsible for any improper use of resources that occurs in the Member’s office. The Committee has long taken the position that each Member is responsible for assuring that the Member’s employees are aware of and adhere to the rules, and for assuring that House resources are used for proper purposes.
While it is not against House ethics rules for House employees to engage in campaign activity outside of congressional offices or facilities, campaign activity is subjected to a number of restrictions which should be carefully reviewed by any House employee wishing to engage in campaign activity, according to the Hosue Ethics Manual, pp. 135-151.
I confirmed the staffer’s employment using the website LegiStorm. The former Harris staffer said they did not submit an ethics complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Rep. Harris’ communications director, Jacque Clark, refuses to respond to my repeated requests for comment.