Senate Ethics Committee Admonishes Graham For Soliciting Campaign Contributions

The Senate Ethics Committee formally admonished Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for soliciting campaign contributions for the 2022 Senate runoff race in Georgia in the Russell Senate Office Building.

It accused Graham of repeatedly violating Senate rules and “related standards of conduct by soliciting campaign contributions in a federal building.” It found that Graham solicited contributions on behalf of Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker “five separate times” during a nine-minute interview with Fox News.

At the time, Walker was in a runoff race against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA).

“The Committee further concluded that during your discussion of the senatorial run-off election, you directly solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Mr. Walker’s campaign committee … five separate times,” it said in a letter to Graham. “Your actions on November 30, 2022, represented a repeat violation of Senate standards of conduct.”

The letter continued by citing that on Oct. 14, 2020, Graham engaged in an “unplanned media interview” in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and accused him of soliciting campaign- contributions for his re-election campaign, concluding that his actions violated Senate “standards of conduct.”

The committee determined that, under its rules, Graham’s conduct was “inadvertent, technical, or otherwise of a de minimis nature.” It said that the ethical standards U.S. senators are subject to are a “responsibility both broader than and distinct from criminal law.”

It continued by claiming Graham’s knowledge regarding the prohibition of campaign solicitation in federal buildings has been “clear” throughout his years of Senate service, finding that Graham “impermissibly conducted campaign activity in a federal building.”

According to the committee, Graham’s actions resulted in “harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate.”

“You are hereby admonished,” the letter concluded.

Following his admonishment, Graham apologized for his actions. “It was a mistake. I take responsibility. I will try to do better in the future,” he reportedly said.

One of Graham’s aides defended his actions and explained that the senator had completed multiple similar interviews “on the same matter from Washington, South Carolina, and Georgia.”

“He simply did not remain sufficiently cognizant of the location from which this particular interview was being conducted,” the aide added.

According to CNN, an admonishment by the committee is equivalent to a “slap on the wrist.” One of the ways that senators are “punished” is through public criticism.

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