An ethics watchdog will notify congressional investigators on Monday of its finding that Rep. Hank Johnson (D., Ga.) used his office's taxpayer-funded resources to assist the campaign of Jon Ossoff, a former Johnson aide, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) says Johnson violated congressional ethics rules that ban members from using their office for partisan campaign activities, and will submit its complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics.
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FACT says links to positive stories about Ossoff were posted on Johnson's official congressional website. Ossoff has worked both for Johnson's office and as Johnson's campaign manager in the past.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the links were removed from Johnson's website after it reached out to the office for comment over the weekend.
Specifically, FACT alleges that Johnson was using his official website to campaign for Ossoff, his former aide who is now facing off against Republican Karen Handel in the runoff to replace health Secretary Tom Price in the House of Representatives.
The group points to links to recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution stories about Ossoff and 6th District voting that were recently featured on Johnson’s official website. The links were removed over the weekend, shortly after the AJC requested comment for this story.
The House Ethics Manual states a lawmaker’s official website "may not include personal, political or campaign information."
FACT charges in its complaint that Johnson, who has previously compared Jewish people to termites, is disregarding ethics rules.
"Representative Johnson has simply disregarded the rule and is blatantly using his official website for partisan purposes and campaign related activity," wrote FACT's Matthew Whitaker in his letter to congressional investigators. "Not only is it troubling that Johnson has breached a basic rule that ensures the public’s confidence that our House Members are working for the citizens and not for their own personal political gain, but he has misused taxpayer funded resources."
Ossoff worked for Johnson first as a part-time staffer while he was a student at Georgetown University and then full-time after he graduated. He has used the experience frequently on the trail in attempts to illustrate that he is qualified to run for office despite his young age.
Johnson has officially endorsed his former aide.