Ethics Committee admonishes Sen. Lindsey Graham

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics has admonished Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for soliciting campaign donations for then-Senate candidate Herschel Walker last year while doing an interview from a federal building.

Graham was admonished in a public letter signed by committee chair Chris Coons of Delaware (D) and vice chair James Lankford of Oklahoma (R).

“Based upon all available information, the Committee concluded that on November 30, 2022, you conducted a media interview with Fox News in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and that your interview was slightly over nine minutes, with over four minutes devoted to a discussion of the 2022 senatorial run-off election in Georgia. 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, www.teamherschel.com, five separate times,” the letter declares.

Walker ultimately lost Georgia’s December runoff election to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

But the letter states that Graham had previously committed the same sort of infraction in 2020, when, during an unplanned interview in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, he solicited donations for his campaign committee.

“On October 14, 2020, immediately following a Judiciary Committee hearing, you engaged in an unplanned media interview in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. In response to a reporter’s question regarding your reelection campaign fundraising, you directly solicited campaign contributions for your campaign committee. While the Committee concluded your conduct violated Senate standards of conduct, it considered several mitigating factors, and in accordance with the Committee’s Rules of Procedure, determined your conduct was ‘inadvertent, technical, or otherwise of a de minimis nature.’ On March 8, 2021, the Committee dismissed the complaint and notified you of the Committee’s findings and action by private letter,” the lawmakers noted.

The letter states that “the Committee finds that you did solicit federal campaign contributions and otherwise impermissibly conducted campaign activity in a federal building. Further, you made these campaign solicitations despite the Committee’s specific guidance following your violation in October 2020. The Committee does acknowledge that you did self-report your conduct to the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity. Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished,” the letter concludes.

Graham has served in the U.S. Senate for a just over 20 years.

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