Swalwell Allegedly Broke House Ethics Rules on Twitter

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) was alleged to have violated House ethics rules this week when he used his official government Twitter account to promote a DNC website used for lead generation and fundraising.

The ethics rules that apply to House members expressly prohibit the use of any government resource for campaign activities with some narrowly defined exceptions.

Swalwell posted a tweet on his congressional account Monday directing readers to a website operated by the Democratic Party designed to gather user information for building contact lists and for fundraising operations. His House account has more than 1.2 million followers.

In the post linking the DNC website, Swalwell rode the wave on publicity surrounding the leak of a draft Supreme Court opnion by warning that “Republicans won’t stop with banning abortion.” He added that the GOP intends to “ban interracial marriage.” Swalwell appears to be unaware that conservative Justice Clarence Thomas is part of such a marriage.

The Federalist reached out to the House Ethics Committee to comment on the tweet, but the request was denied. The relevant rule prohibits use of government resources for “campaign or political purposes.”

Attorney Mike Davis, who served as chief counsel for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, retweeted Swalwell’s post with a comment simply asking the California Democrat why he is using an official account to fundraise for the DNC.

The very limited exceptions to the ethics rule prohibiting such use of government property for political purposes include things like press communications and scheduling announcements. House members are permitted to distribute nonpartisan voter registration materials over official channels. Representatives are not allowed to actually directly assist with completing a voter’s registration.

Swalwell’s congressional office did not respond to a request for comment from The Federalist regarding the use of the account for an explicitly partisan solicitation.

Swalwell was embroiled in controversy in December 2020 when his close relationship with a Chinese spy surfaced. While he sat on the House Intelligence Committee with access to top secret classified material, he had a personal and allegedly sexual relationship with Fang Fang, a Chinese national.

Fang Fang had previously been involved in allegedly manipulative sexual relationships with a pair of mayors of midwestern U.S. cities. She has since disappeared from public view. The FBI was apparently involved to the extent that Swalwell was subjected to a “defensive briefing’ by intelligence officials.