Last week, in yet another potential violation of Senate ethics rules, Sen. Susan Collins sent an official government staffer to a private GOP fundraising event in Washington County, Maine to implore its attendees to support Collin’s reelection campaign. The potential violation comes after numerous other allegations of ethics violations have dogged Senator Collins and her government work for more than one year.
“I can assure you that there are two people who want you to vote for Senator Collins. One is the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and two is our president, President Trump,” the aide said on Feb. 15, 2020, according to audio uploaded to SoundCloud. It is a violation of Senate ethics rules to use official government resources for political purposes, yet Collins appears to do it anyways.
In another instance in the past year, Collins appears to have used footage from an official event in an advertising campaign benefiting her reelection effort, representing yet another potential violation of Senate ethics rules. The event in question took place in September of 2019 when Collins’ office held an official event with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. At the time, Chao announced a decision to award Maine with federal money to fund ongoing infrastructure projects throughout the state. According to a review by American Ledger, however, Collins turned around and digitally promoted footage from the event, presumably captured using Senate office resources, with Chao in a Facebook advertisement that reached over 50,000 Mainers to tout her upcoming Senate campaign. The Senate Select Committee on Ethics rules state: “31 U.S.C § 1301, provides that official funds are to be used only for the purposes for which they were appropriated. No official resources may be used to conduct campaign activities.”
Collins’ appearance with Chao coincides with new political posturing that undercuts her previously heralded moderate credentials, suggesting she is voting in line with extremist positions of McConnell and the president to help fund her rocky reelection odds. The new posturing prompted McConnell to declare, “Susan Collins will be well funded, I can assure you,” during an appearance on Fox News in October 2018.
Weeks ago, Collins’ fell in line with McConnell and voted to acquit President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, despite Trump’s clear record of abusing his office for political benefit. The vote prompted some observers to declare her previous moderate and bipartisan credentials a thing of the past.
In November, Collins will be on the ticket alongside the President when she seeks reelection as Senator for the State of Maine. She is currently the least popular Senator in America.