Georgia Democrats file ethics complaint against Doug Collins

When U.S. Rep. Doug Collins chose to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by fellow Republican Kelly Loeffler, a large field of candidates entered the GOP primary to fill his House seat in Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. BenGray.com / Special
When U.S. Rep. Doug Collins chose to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by fellow Republican Kelly Loeffler, a large field of candidates entered the GOP primary to fill his House seat in Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. BenGray.com / Special

Georgia Democrats filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against Senate candidate Doug Collins claiming he’s violating congressional rules for using footage from the U.S. House floor for political purposes.

The Democratic Party of Georgia’s complaint accused Collins of misusing House floor footage on several occasions, including a recent ad that shows the footage of the congressman speaking in the chamber as a narrator describes him as “President Trump’s strongest defender.”

Scott Hogan, the party’s executive director, said Collins is “violating the public trust of Georgians” and urged the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an immediate probe into his conduct. Collins is among 20 candidates challenging U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican former financial executive.

It echoes an April complaint filed by state Rep. David Clark, a Republican ally of Gov. Brian Kemp, that criticizes Collins’ usage of footage from the U.S. House floor in a dozen Facebook ads.

The clip invoked in Tuesday’s filing involves coverage of Collins delivering a closing statement on the U.S. House floor in December during impeachment proceedings against Trump. The complaint said it shows that Collins demonstrates a “continued and escalating” violation of ethics rules.

“The conduct is all the more problematic in the context of an impeachment vote,” wrote Hogan in the complaint, which cites House rules that prohibit the use of proceedings for any partisan political campaign purpose.

Collins’ campaign cast the filing as a sign Democrats take him as a bigger threat than Loeffler in the November special election, a wide-open affair with no party primaries to filter out nominees. Recent polls show the two in a tight race for Republican votes.

Campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said the Republican incumbent and Democrats are “teaming up” against Collins.

“They really, really don’t want Georgians to see the video of Doug demolishing the left as Trump’s chief defender during impeachment,” said McLagan. “It’s a news clip. It’s truth. They want it censored.”

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