The Office of Congressional Ethics or OCE unanimously rejected an ethics complaint filed on October 2013 by the Arkansas Democratic Party against Arkansas Congressman and aspiring GOP Senator Tom Cotton. The complaint alleged that Cotton violated House rules by soliciting funds while at the U.S. Capitol.
Democrats claimed that Cotton committed the violation when he conducted a radio interview with right-wing talk show host Hugh Hewitt and made an appeal to listeners for campaign support through his Senate campaign website. However, Cotton maintained that he was outside the premises of the U.S. House of Representatives during the interview.
The OCE voted 6-0 to dismiss the complaint after the body investigated the formal charge, declaring that “there is not substantial reason” to conclude that Rep. Cotton was indeed inside the U.S. Capitol building when he asked listeners for campaign contributions.
According to a letter subsequently issued by the OCE, the committee “considers this matter closed” as a result of its examination and review, which is also “consistent with the recommendation in the committee’s referral”.
Cotton’s Senate campaign released copies of the complaint dismissal on Wednesday, April 9th. However, Cotton’s troubles are far from over as another complaint has surfaced regarding the disclosure of the identities of his consulting service clients. The complaint, which was filed by Arkansas Chief Justice Jack Holt – a Democrat – questioned the freshman lawmaker’s work for business consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, Inc. Cotton allegedly did not identify any of the clients for whom he provided professional services “in excess of $5,000”, which Holt deems worthy of a formal investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Democratic Party of Arkansas lawyer Benton Smith stated that the complaint is an urgent matter of transparency and public accountability because Cotton’s constituents deserve to know whether their Rep. Cotton considers himself “above the law”. Smith added that Cotton is required to provide a full accounting of his clients from the time he worked as a Washington consultant in order for the people of Arkansas to have the information they deserve to know when they vote in November.
Image via Wikimedia Commons