Ethics complaints target Loeffler after she solicited donations in US Capitol

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) speaks at a rally to unite Georgia conservatives behind Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in Marietta, Ga., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The only way for Republicans to retain their Senate majority is if at least one incumbent prevails. (Nicole Craine/The New York Times)
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Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) speaks at a rally to unite Georgia conservatives behind Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in Marietta, Ga., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The only way for Republicans to retain their Senate majority is if at least one incumbent prevails. (Nicole Craine/The New York Times)

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is facing a pair of ethics complaints after she solicited campaign contributions for her runoff campaign during an on-camera interview at the U.S. Capitol.

The Democratic Party of Georgia and the American Democracy Legal Fund both filed complaints with the Senate ethics committee focused on her Wednesday interview with Fox News, when she told the audience to visit her campaign website to “chip in $5 or $10 to get involved, volunteer.”

State Democrats also asked the Justice Department to investigate, accusing her of “using her power as an elected official to support her own campaign” in violation of rules that prohibit members of Congress from soliciting contributions in federal buildings.

“Senator Kelly Loeffler has once again chosen to use her position of power for personal and political advantage by illegally asking for donations on national television while on federal property,” said Scott Hogan, executive director of the state Democratic party.

Loeffler’s campaign dismissed the complaints as an attempt to shift attention away from her opponent, Raphael Warnock, who is facing scrutiny over past sermons and stances.

“We’re only two weeks into this race and the Democrats are already so desperate to try to distract from Raphael Warnock’s attacks on the police, military, small businesses, Israel and virtually every other voting bloc that they’re spending their time filing frivolous complaints,” said Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s spokesman.

Loeffler and fellow Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue are in Jan. 5 runoffs against Warnock and Jon Ossoff to determine control of the U.S. Senate. One of the wealthiest members of Congress, Loeffler pumped more than $23 million of her own fortune into her general election campaign, but she’s more aggressively courting donors for the runoff cycle.

Her remarks came during a Fox News segment focused on the spending spree in the twin runoff races, which have already attracted more than $120 million in ad spending since the Nov. 3 election.

“We know that hundreds of millions of dark, liberal money is pouring into our state. That’s why it’s so important that everyone across the country get involved,” she said from the Capitol. “They can visit KellyforSenate.com to chip in $5 or $10 bucks to get involved, volunteer.”

They mirror ethics claims from left-leaning groups that targeted U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina when he asked for campaign donations in October after Supreme Court confirmation hearings. His campaign said he was responding to a question and that it was “unintentional.”

The complaint against Loeffler from the American Democracy Legal Fund said the Republican’s violation was cut and dry. Brad Woodhouse, the group’s president, said the “fundraising solicitation from the Capitol was illegal, plain and simple.”

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